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DUKES & POETS 
IN FERRARA 



A STUDY IN THE POETRY, RELIGION AND 
POLITICS OF THE FIFTEENTH AND 

EARLY SIXTEENTH CENTURIES .,, 



/By 

EDMUND G. 5^RDNER, M.A. 

Author of ^'Dante's Ten Heavens;' 
" The Story of Florence;* " Desideno;' etc. 



LONDON 
ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO. LTD 

1904 



THE NBW YORK ' 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

334772A 

A3T0R, LENOX AND 

TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

R 1927 L 



BOTLBR A TANNER, 

Thb sblwooo printinc Works. 

FROMB. AND LONZX>N. 



• • • 
• • • • 



• • ••• • •*•• 

. • • •-• • •• • 

•• •.••• • • •• 

* • • • • • • • 

• ••••• •• • 



• • • • *•••••• • 

>*■••••■■■ • 

• • •* • ••• • • •• 



TO 

PROFESSOR 

JAMES SMITH REID 

THIS BOOK IS 

AFFECTIONATELY AND GRATEFULLY 

DEDICATED 






CO 



PREFACE 

Chi pensa a' tirazmi se vola il Boiardo 

Nel cielo de' sogni stellato ? 
Se squilla a battaglia, pensoso e gagliardo, 
II buon cavaliere Torquato ? 

But the wealth of material at my disposal, published an 
nnpublished, has proved far too great to be dealt wit 
adequately in one volume, or indeed in a single work. 

The two greatest personalities in the story of Ferrara ar 
undoubtedly the second Duke, Ercole I d'Este, and th 
supreme poet after Dante of the Italian nation, Lodovia 
Ariosto. The former may be said to have created moden 
Ferrara, the latter raised it to a world-wide importance 
n the history of European literature. Ferrarese history 
falls naturally into two very clearly divided portions, the 
point of division being not the death of the great Duke 
Ercole and the accession of the formidable Alfonso I, but the 
close of the year 1508 — the year that witnessed the conclu- 
sion of the League of Cambrai. After that year, Ferrarese 
art, literature and politics take a new turn. The works of 
Lodovico Ariosto soon after that date begin to be expressed 
in a different form, and seem impregnated with a new 
spirit. Between his earlier writings, in verse and prose, 
and his later poetry, is all the difference between the early 
and the full Renaissance; and in the carnival of the 
following year, 1509, with his second prose comedy, the 
Suppositi, he crowned and completed the work for the 
renovation of the Italian Drama, which his late sovereign 
Ercole had begun and promoted by his influence and patron- 
age. We see a similar thing in Ferrarese painting. The 
earlier school still survived in the person of Lorenzo Costa, 
but Dosso Dossi and Benvenuto Tisi had hardly begun to 
make themselves known, and practically all their extant 

viii 



PREFACE 

work, all at least that is really significant, was still to 
come. These first years of Alfonso's reign witnessed the 
dispersal, by death or otherwise, of the peculiar litCTary 
society that had gathered round his father and pre- 
decessor, and had given its tone to his Court. 

In this present volume, then, I deal with the political and 
literary history of Ferrara from the epoch immediately 
preceding the times of Borso and Ercole down to the 
dispersal of what we may call the Herculean circle in the 
years 1508-1509 ; that is, with LeoneUo d'Este and Borso 
the first Duke, with the whole reign of Ercole I, with Savon- 
arola and Boiardo and their contemporaries, and with the 
opening years of Alfonso's reign. I need hardly offer 
apology or explanation for lingering in some detail over 
Ercole's relations with Savonarola and other mystical spirits, 
men and women, of the same Dominican Order. As I read 
the character of this (to me at least) the most interesting 
figure among the sovereigns of the early Renaissance, a 
sincere but somewhat ineffectual mysticism is the leading 
motive in Ercole's Ufe. There were many Italian princes 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who, in their 
general foreign and dlomestic poUcy, foUowed a Une of 
conduct analogous to his ; there was not one, so far as 
my knowledge extends, who strove so diligently to establish 
relations with the unseen world. 

Although the youth and early manhood of Ferrara's 
supreme poet f aU under the epoch here considered, I have 
dealt with him merely cursorily. In a second volume, which 

is already well m hand, but which will be in the form of an 
entirely independent work, I treat in full of the Life and 
Work of Anosto-the King of Court Poets, as I venture to 
caU him. This will naturally mdude the adventurous and 



PREFACE 
romantic reign of Alfonso I. I also intend, in a smaUe^^ ^ 



to deal separately with the painters of the Ferrarese 
I hope ultimately to complete the history of Ferrara "^^ 
volume dealing mth Ercole II and Alfonso II ; the 
testant Duchess Renata; Torquato Tasso; the enfor 
surrender of the Duchy to Pope Clement VIII, and 
expulsion of the last Duke, Cesare d* Este. 

English readers are already famiUar with the ear; 
portion of the reign of Ercole I, in so far as his child: 
are concerned, in the charming pages of Mrs. Ady(jE>^ 
Cartwright). To her Beatrice d^ Este I am happy t{M:^^^^^^ 
knowledge m3rself indebted, and I have, as far asptsc^^ 
avoided going over the same grotmd. I regret that, 1: f- 
for the present in Italy, I did not become acquainted J 
her more recent Isabella $ Este in time to consult it (or ^== 
present volume, and do not, therefore, know whethe*- 
has been able to add an5rthing to the rich store of mate^ - 
already gathered by Professors Luzio and Renier. 

Among modern ItaUan writers, I must in the first ^ 
specially acknowledge my debt to the late Antonio Cti 
whose publications are of inestimable value to the st^ 
of Ferrarese history at every turn. The reseaicVx^^^^-^^i^^;^-^^ 
AJessandro Luzio and Rodolf o Renier have thrown a fV 
light upon the inner Ufe of the Italian Renaissance, esp 
n all that concerns the Houses of Este and Gonzaga, 
trust that in my pages I have made full acknowlc^^ 
of what I have derived from their essays and studi 
which no student can be sufl&ciently grateful. I ha\^e S^ ^o 
much use of the labours of that band of Italian scl^^^l ^^e 
^ led by Naborre Campanini, who raised so excellent a. li^^ ^^s, 
monument to Boiardoonthe occasion of the fifth cent^ ^ 
i ** of his birth ; of the various pubUcations of Co ant j ^^y 




•^igi 



PREFACE 

Alberto Gandini* Angdo Solerti, Adolfo Venturi, and 
^xnberto Dallari ; of Dr. Ludwig Pastor's monumental 
^tory of the Popes. More recently still, the work of a 
younger Italian scholar, Giulio Bertoni, La Biblioteca 
Estense e k CoUura Ferrarese at tempi del Duca Ercole /, 
has proved of very great service to me ; not only for what 
it contains (though that is of much value), but also for its 
copious references and indications to manuscripts and other 
sources of information, it is hardly too much to say that 
Dr- Bertoni's book will prove an indispensable guide to 
all students who would obtain an independent know- 
ledge of the literary atmosphere of fifteenth century Ferrara. 

In leaving this, my first serious contribution to the study' 
of Italian history, it is a pleasant duty to express again my 
gratitude to the noble books of Prof essor Villari on Savon- 
arola and Machiavelli, from which so many of us have 

awn our first knowledge of that fascinating, many-sided 
epoch in the world's civilization which is called the Renais- 
sance in Italy. 

xcept where otherwise stated, my quotations are made 
o^tly from the documents in the Archives of Modena 
e Vatican. At the risk of incurring the charge of being 
pedantic, I have indicated, somewhat scrupulously and 
w^t ^' ^^^ ^^ documents are quoted from the published 
wor o Italian scholars — especially as there seems a 
^l^^'^'^sion in Italy that of late a somewhat lax 
has sometimes been prevalent among us in 

England m this rPQnpof t u xi. • • i 

o xub respect, i have gone on the prmciple 

tllJ^ t^^iislating Latin or Italian quotations when 

inserted m the text, but not necessarily when merely 

quoted in the notes. In an Appendix, I have made a 

small selection of the rich material in the way of un- 



PREFACE 

published documents available, partly as specimens and 
partly for a fuller elucidation of the text ; as a rule, with 
two or three exceptions, I have not published the text of a 
document in the Appendix which has already been trans- 
lated in the body of the work. I have modernized the 
pimctuation and accentuation, and expanded the con- 
tractions, but otherwise (with the exception of the sub- 
stitution of V for I*) my transcripts are textual. It has 
not been a part of my plan to supply a full critical 
apparatus of documents, which would be out of place in a 
work intended for the general reader as well as for the 
professed student of the Renaissance. 

My grateful thanks are due to the Cavaliere Giovanni 
Ognibene and the officials of the Archivio di Stato in Modena, 
for their ever-ready assistance and invariable courtesy 
shown me during my researches ; to the authorities at the 
Archivio Segreto of the Vatican ; and to Dr. Giulio Bertoni, 
for some valuable suggestions and for having called my 
attention to several documents of importance which would 
otherwise have escaped my notice. 

E. G. G. 

Modena, July 2, 1903. 



Xll 



CONTENTS 

J'AGF. 

Bibliography , ^ 

CHAPTER I 

UNDER THE WhITK E^^„ ^^ gg^ .... 9 

CHAPTER II 
Princes AND HuMAmsxs 26 



CHAPTER III 
Thk Dukb of Mor^si^A. 67 

CHAPTER IV 

THB TKIUKPH OF I>^^^ ^^^^^ 95 

CHAPTER V 

X3»D»KTKEScKPXRfi o,, AlcIDES ..... 122 

CHAPTER VI 
Thb V/ak of Ferrari j^^ 

CHAPTER VII 
In the Lull before the Storm 212 

CHAPTER VIII 

lilATrEO Maria Boiardo 253 

xiii 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER IX 



PAGE - 



The Duke and the Friar ...... 295 

CHAPTER X 
In the Close of the Quattrocento 340 [ 

CHAPTER XI I 

The Coming of Madonna Lucrszia .382 

I 

CHAPTER XII 
The Last Years of Duke Ercole. .... 424 

CHAPTER XIII 
The Poets of the Herculean Circle .... 468 

CHAPTER XIV 
The End of the Herculean Age ..... 493 

APPENDIX I 
Unedited Poems of the Borsian Epoch . . - 527 

APPENDIX II 

A Selection of Unpublished Documents . . -538 

Genealogical Tables of the Houses of Esle, Gonzaga, Sforza, 
Pio and Pico. 

INDEX 565 



XIV 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Facing 

RCOLE I D'EsTB, Second Dukb of Ferrara. By Dosso 

• . Frontispiece 

Leokellod-Este. By Giovanni Oriolo . ... 49 

HE Triumph of Minerva (detaU). By Ftancesco del 
Cossa . 

90 

Hso AND HIS Companions. By Francesco del Cossa 112 

"w Jbster of Ferrara. By Dosso Dossi . . 160 

'" ^"""""^ ^'^ Venus (detaU). By Ftancesco del Cossa 282 

iRouiio Savonarola (in the Character of St. Peter Martyr). 

"V Fia Bartolonuneo ,20 

P~«Alex^x.erVI. By Hntoricchio .... 359 

C^* °' Alexandria (supposed portrait of Lucrezia 
8W). By Pintoticchio . ^^ 

• • • • • 4^\Xj 

^°G^"^^°"'- ^'^t^ fro'^ a fresco. By Ercole 
f^^ ' ' ' ^ 

""bJ,^^"' ^*° ^"^ ""^ Ferrara. After Titian, 
''y Dosso Dossi 

*••... 496 



XV 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



I. Unpubushed Sources. 



A. 

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B. 

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Suva Cfofiicanifn "R** 

insis sed i ^"^^^^ Zambotti luris Civilis Doctoris Ferrari- 
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> 



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St^^Jof^^**********"' '409-I4S4- li.yu3iion,RerumlUdicantm 

^^^J^T^' ^ ^<**>*Hii«MlebnUcdiam. Milan, 1819, etc. 
^^888 "** *•*' ^**^' *■ ^»»^ '• '»'^««» « *<«^»- Bologna, 

^^'^997 . ' ^^'****^ •' **<»«*f*i "!ose del QuaUrocento. Florence, 

l^X^t^'^'^'^^'^f- .Ancona x8;8. 

(CMonialeStoriJr^!i « ^<^^^d%e classtche %n Ferrara net 1499. 

Lnzio, A. and Re^^ ^^"* letteratura ItaHana, vol. 11). Turin, 1888. 
con Lodovico eB • ^^ BelaHoni di Isabella d* Este Gonzaga 
vd. 17.) Milan ^^'^^ ^forza. (Archivio Storico Lombardo, 

Jjaao, A. and Reuier' P 1^' 

secondo i docunuL^'n '^^^^'^^ Gonzaga alia Battaglia di Fornovo, 
V. vol. 6^ T?u -^^wtovaw . (Archivio Storico Italiano. Series 
' J' ^'Aorence, 1890. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Luzio, A. and Renier, R. Mantova e Urbino : Isabella d' Este »d 
Elisabetta Gonzaga nelle relazioni famigliari e nelle vicende V 
politiche. Turin, 1893. I 

Luzio, A. and Renier, R. Niccold da Correggio. (Giornale Storico 

della Letteratura Italiana. Vols. 21 and 22.) Turin, 1893. I 

Luzio, A. and Renier, R. La Coltura e le Relazioni Letterane di | 

Isabella d' Este Gonzaga. (Ibid., vols. 33-40.) Turin, 1 899-1902. 
Machiavelli, N. Opere. 8 volumes. Florence, 181 3. 
Malipiero, Domenico. AnnaliVeneti,i4S7-iSoo.{AxcYdvio Storico 

Italiano. Series I, vol. 7). Florence, 1843. 
Mandni, G. M. Vita di Leon Battista Alberti. Florence, 1882. 
Muratori,L. A. Delle Antichitd Estensi ed Italiane, 2 vols. Modena, 

1717-1740. 
Niccold da Ferrara, Frate. // Libro del Polistore. Muratori, Rerum 

Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 24. 
Novati, F. Donato degli Albanzani alia Corte Estense. (Archivio 

Storico Italiano. Series V, vol. 6.) Florence, 1890. 
Olivi, L. Delle Nozze di Ercole I con Eleonora d'Aragona, (Memorie 

della R. Accademia di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Modena. 

Series II, vol. 5.) Modena, 1887. 
Panizzi, A. Orlando Innamorato del Boiardo, with an essay on the 

romantic narrative poetry of the Italians, London, 1830. 
Pastor, Ludwig. Geschichte der Pdpste im Zeitalter der Renaissance. 

2nd edition. Freiburg im Breisgau. 1 891 -1895. 3 ^^^' 
P^lissier, L. G. La Politique du Marquis de Mantoue, pendant la 

lutte de Louis XII et deLudovic Sforza (i 498-1 scxj). (Annales 

de la Faculty des Lettres de Bordeaux, ann6e 1892. No. i). 

Paris, 1892. 
^ Pez, B. and Hueber, P. Thesaurus Anecdotorum Novissimus. Vol. 

6. Augsburg, 1723. 
Piccolomini, Enea Silvio (Pius II). De Viris Illustribus, (Biblio- 

thek des Literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, vol. i). Stuttgart, 

1843- 
Piccolomini, Enea Silvio (Pius II). Opera quae extant omnia, Basle, 

1551. 
Piccolomini, Enea Silvio (Pius II). Commentarii Rerum Memora- 

bilium, quae temporibus suis contigerunt, Rome, 1584. 
Piccolomini, Enea Silvio (Pius II). Historia Rerum Friderici Tertii 

Imperatoris. Strassburg, 1685. 
Pigna, G. B. Historia de* Principi d* Este, Ferrara, 1570. 
Pistofilo, Bonaventura. Vita di Alfonso I d* Este^Duca di Ferrara, 

etc. Edited by Antonio Cappelli. (Atti e memorie delle RR. 

Deputazioni di Storia Patria per le Provinde Modenesi e 

Parmensi. Series I, vol. 3.) Modena, 1868. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

^toia, U (Antonio Cammelli). / sanetti del Pistoia giusta VApc^ 
grafo Trivulziano, a cut a di Rodolfo Renier. Turin, 1888. 

^^, E. La Guerra di Ferrara del 1482. Padua, 1893, 1894. 

-'^jna, P. Le Fonti dell' Orlando Furioso. 2nd edition. Florence, 
1900. 

Renier, R. See under Luzio and Pistoia. 

J^tme suite dei PoeH Ferraresi antichi e moderni [edited by G. Bamf - 
laldi]. Ferrara, 1713. 

-Komanin, S. Storia documetUata di Venezia. Vols. 3-5. Venice, 
1853^1. 

-Rosmini, C. de\ Vita e disciplina di Guarino Veronese e de' suoi 
Ros£^^'' ^ ''''^' ^resda, 1805, 1806. 

nii^' ^'' ^^* ^^' istoria intomo aUe militari imprese e alia 

Rua r "^^<««»<o. Milan, 1900. 

£?baSnitt^^*'«-^-'- Turin. ^888. 

Sanudo M ' ^^tcnuntaia di Giovannt Aurispa. Noto, 1892. 

ani d^ri ^*^''**'*^^«»^* ^^<^ Guerra di Ferrara tra li VeneH- 
islg ^^^^^o^d*Esteneli4S2. Ed. L. Manin. Venice, 

'pSii^e^ ^"^ -^^eimotk? di Carlo VIII in Italia. Ed. R. 

"stefanf^d ^^ ^^^^h 149^1533- Edited by FuUn, Barozzi, 
Sanndo, M^ino ^'''^^*. Venice, 1879-1902. 

Italiearum '<? • *^ ^' ^**^** ^* Venezia. Muratori, Rerum 

Monticolo ' ^^^^^^^> voL 22. A new edition by Giovanni 
etc. ^ ^^ course of publication. CittA di Castello, 1900, 

Sardi, Gasparo m.^* . 

Scbivenpglia A 7; *^^* Ferraresi. Ferrara, 1556. 

C. D'Arco j^^^^<^ di MarUova dal 1445 al 1484. Edited by 
inediti vol ^' duller, RaccoUa di Cronisti e Storici Lombardi 

Schmaisow', A 'm«2«^^' ^^56. 

Secco-Suardo q^^^^o da Forll Berlin and Stuttgart, 1886. 

memorie' d^ 1^ ^^tuiio di Ferrara a tuiio U secolo XV. (Atti e 
Ferraia, igQ. ^^^tazione Ferrarese di Storia Patria, vol. 6.) 

Segaxi2zi,A.' Delia, ^t^ 

1 900. ^^'^ « deUe opere di Michele Savonarola. Padua, 

Sitta., P. SaggiQ «^, 

secoliXV e ^^f^ ^^^^^*^oni finanziarie del ducato Estense net 
S toria Patria \r ^"^^^i e memorie della Deputazione Ferrarese di 
Solerti, A. Ferrar " ^*^ Ferrara, 1891. 

decimosesto. * ^ '^ Corie Estense nellaseconda metd del secolo 
Borgatti. Ci+fA ^iti<>i^ with Map of Ferrara in 1597 by F. 
^^^^ di Castello, 1900. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Solerti, A. Ugo e Parisina : Storia e leggenda secondo nuovi docu- 
y menti. (Nuova Antologia, Series iii. vols. 45 and 46}. Rome, 1 893. 

Solerti, A. See also under Boiardo. 
StrozHi poetae pater et films. Edited by Aldus Manutius. Venice, 

1513. 
Strozzi, Lorenzo. La vite degli uomini iUustri della Casa Stroxsi, (Ed. 

P. Stromboli.) Florence, 1892^. 
Tebaldeo, Antonio. Soneti e capitoli de Messer Antonio Thebaldeo. 

Edited by Jacopo Tebaldi. Modena, 1500. 
Theiner, A. Codex Diplontaiicus Dominii Temporalis Sanctas Sedis, 

Vol. 3. Rome, 1862. 
Tiraboschi, G. Storia della Letter atur a Italiana, Milan, 1824, eta 
Trinchera, F. Codice Aragonese, sia letter e regie, ordinanunti ed 

altri atti govemativi de* Sovrani Aragonesi in Napoli. 2 vols. 

Naples, 1866, 1870. 
Vasari, G. Le Vite de' piU eccellenii pittori, etc. Vol. i. : Gentile 

da Fabriano ed il Pisanello. Critical edition by A. Venturi. 

Florence, 1898. 
Venturi, A. L'ArteFerrarese nel periodo di Borso d' Este, (Rivista 

Storica Italiana, II. 4). Turin, 1885. 
Venturi, A. L'ArteFerrarese nel periodo di Ercole I d' Este. (Atti 

e memorie della R. Deputazione di Storia Patria per Romagna. 

Series iii, vols. 6 and 7.) Bologna, 1888, 1889. 
Venturi, G. B. (the elder). Storia di Scandiano. Modena, 1822. 
Venturi, G. B. (the younger). Relazioni dei Govematori di Reggio 

al Duca Ercole I di Ferrara. (Atti e memorie delle RR. Depu- 

tazioni di Storia Patria per le Provincie Modenesi e Parmensi. 

Series iii, vol. 2.) Modena, 1884. 
Villari, P. La Storia di Girolamo Savonarola e de' suoi tempi. 2nd 

edition. Florence, 1887, 1888. 
Villari, P. Niccold Machiavelli e i suoi tempi. 2nd edition. Milan, 

1895, 1896. 
Voigt, G. II Risorgimento dell* Antichitd Classica, ovvero il prima 

secolo deU* Umanesimo. Translated by D. Valbusa, with addi- 
tions, etc., by G. Zippel. 3 vols. Florence, 1886, 1887. 
Yriarte, C. Cisar Borgia. 2 vols. Paris, 1889. 

[And other works, published and unpublished, roistered in the 
text and notes.] 



Chapter I 
UNDER THE: ^HITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

^ERRARA. Kas l>een styled the "first reaUy modem 

aty in E\irop>e." To-day it lies magnificent in its 

desolation. MtYvoiagh the Ferrarese, throughout the 

struggles that la.a.ve made Italy one, gave ample proof of 

their patavotasna. tlie pulse of the new ItaHan nation beats 

t»nt feeb y m tVus city that was once among the most charac- 

tenstac P^ <^cts of the Renaissance. Gabride d'Annunzio 

**^^ Tof ^^ " ^eserta bellezza," and every sympathetic 

stt» en^^ ttvodem Italian letters must know the striking 

^**'^«t,t,^ ^***^ ^* ^oratra, that Carducd has written upon 

^e fifteenth ^ ^"^ "^^ **® present decay. In 

ost ar«i ^** sixteenth centuries, Ferrara was one of the 

** refine«i^*^* '^*'^^ °* ^*^^ ^^ and culture, the seat of 

^-val of :^^|^°*^ brilliant Court, for a whUe even the jealous 

"rfy l«l ^^rence, the capital of a potent State that ranked 

? 143 ^'^ the five great powers of the peninsula, and that, 

*Ttalv al^^** °^ greatest extension, stretched right across 

^ ^^cst from sea to sea.» Florence had given to all 

, .'Mira la nobU terra. 

Quasi gran fascia che I'ltalia fenda 
Tasso ^ *^ *^"« "nar si stenda." 

A- FmL ^^..iiof^ "*' viaggio de la iUustrissima signora Duchessa 
^*'<t>^^ lo Stato (in September. 1584). 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

the world the supreme poet of the Middle Ages, Dante 
Alighieri, though she sent him forth to die in exile at Ra- 
venna, with whom she must now share his fame. Although 
the sovereign singer of the Italian Renaissance, Lodovico 
Ariosto, was actually bom at Reggio, yet Ferrara may, in 
part at least, justly claim him as her own, and has fairly 
earned the proud title that Carducci gives her — " Madre de 
Titale muse seconda." 

The chief glory of Ferrara is still the Castello Vecchio, 
the great palace castle of the princes of the House of Este. 
Hardly elsewhere in Italy, save at Urbino, shall we find so 
magnificent a monument of the very spirit of the age of the 
Italian Despots, in contrast with such democratic palaces 
of the Republics as the Palazzo ddla Signoria at Florence 
„ or the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena. Everywhere from the 
walls its four huge red towers are seen through bowers of 
green trees, bathed in the first fires of simrise, transfigured 
in the glow of an Emilian simset, or at night looming up 
dark and threatening against the stars. Wander where we 
may through the streets of Ferrara — and there are few 
cities more pleasant to linger in for weeks together, enjoying 
at every turn some relic of the golden past — ^we feel its 
pervading presence. And everywhere throughout the city 
we touch the memories of the illustrious House that reared 
the goodly fabric of an ideal Renaissance State, though 
more than three centuries have passed since the White Eagle 
of Este was hurled down from the battlements and the last 
Duke of Ferrara, with set features and eyes fixed upon a 
letter in his hand, drove out of the gate of his city. The 
one great poet of the Italian Renaissance having been bom 
a Ferrarese subject, it was inevitable that he should be a 
Court poet. 

lo 



UNDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

" The laudable discretion of the Marquis of Este," wrote 
Dante, "and his munificence prepared for all, make him to \ 
be beloved"^ It is probable that these words were written 
in irony, for elsewhere the Divine Poet never touches, 
be it ever so lightly, any member of the great Guelf house 
that, save for twa brief mtervals, reigned in Ferrara from 
the beginning of the thirteenth to the end of the sixteenth 
centuiy, without leaving a lasting scar of infamy upon the 
name. The fair-haired Obizzo II, fourth Estensian lord 
of Ferrara, who added Modena andReggio to his dominions, 
is plunged with Ez^elino — that ghastliest of mediaeval 
tyrants, from whom Obizzo's own grandfather, the magnani- 
mous and heroic Azzo Novello, had delivered Italy — into the 
river of boiling blood, where the fierce Centaurs hunt the 
damned souls of tyrants and murderers ; his pander, the 
Bolognese Venedico Caccianimici, cowers beneath the lash 
of the homed demons in the " Evil Pits " of the seducers 
of women ; Obizzo's son and successor, the Marchese Azzo 
VIII, is branded as a parricide, while one of his victims 
haunts the shores of the Mountain of Purgation amongst the 
other dim ghosts of those that fell by the sword.* It is 
more probable that Dante never Ungered in Ferrara, 
and indeed, during the greater part of his wanderings, the 
princes of the House of Este— Rinaldo and Obizzo III and 
other nephews of Azzo — ^were themselves despoiled of their 
States and in exile, while the vicars of King Robert of 
Naples and the legates of the Popes of Avignon held their 

1 n^ VidgaH Eloquentia, U. 6. 

« Inf^^^ xu. 109-112, xviii. 55-57 ; Purgaiorio, v. 77. For the 

s%x\y\eCt oi Dante's treatment of the House of Este, see I. Del Lungo, 

nani^ ^ J^pi di Dante, ^p. 379-434, and T. Sandonnini, Dante e 

gli BsU^**^ ^e Aui e Memovie delU RR, Deputaxioni di Stories 

I>airi(^ P^ '• fVowVicte Modenesi e Parmensi, series iv. vol. 4. 



4. 
II 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 



7 



capital, and hanged or beheaded Ghibellines and Estensians 
alike. 

Throughout Ferrarese history, we shall find two counter- 
acting forces playing upon Ferrara: Rome and Venice 
contending for predominance. Although the Popes recog- 
nized the Estensi as their vdcars in temporalibus^ they claimed 
Ferrara as part of the legacy of the Countess Matilda to the 
Holy See, and at a later epoch made prolonged efforts, 
crowned at last with success, to bring back the State to their 
direct dominion. The Republic of Venice, as early as the 
beginning of the twelfth century, had established a colony 
in the city for commercial purposes, with special treaty 
rights. It had joined with the Pope in overthrowing the 
last of the Salinguerra and restoring Azzo NoveUo to power 
in 1240, because these rights had not been respected bv 
Salinguerra and his Ghibellines when they held the place 
in the name of the Emperor Frederick II. But now that the 
Venetians were beginning to turn their attention to making 
acquisitions on the Italian mainland, Ferrara appeared to 
them a tempting and possible prize. 

Weaiied out with fruitless efforts to recover by force of 
arms the cities of Modena and Reggio, which had revolted 
in 1306, the Marchese Azzo VIII died on the last day of 
January, 1308, in the castle of Este, whither he had gone for 
the sake of the baths of the Paduan district. He left no 
legitimate children. Before leaving Ferrara, in consequence 
of the feud between him and his brothers Aldobrandino and 
Francesco, he had made a will leaving the government to 
his infant grandchild Folco, the legitimate son of his bastard 
Fresco, and appointed the latter regent ; but it was said 
that, in Este, he had been reconciled to his brothers, had 
revoked his will and appointed them his heirs. 

12 



UNDER THE, WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

J^ disastrous cozx-fces-t lor the possession of Ferrara followed, 
be^vveen Fresco oxi -tlxe one hand, who was in actual pos- 
session, and the Ihf sLx-chese Francesco, with his nephews 
f^xojaldo and Obizzo, on the other. The Republic of Venice 
^^3S rea.dy to tak^ a. Ixand in the game ; while Azzo lay on 
liis death-bed, tlxe I><>ge Gradenigo had sent three Venetian 
nobles to Ferrarat, vinder the pretext of condoling with the 
^ax'qtiis in Ids Illness and offering their assistance, if need 
stio«l<i arise, to irxvestigate the state of things and the dis- 
position of tlie i>eopie, and, in case of his death, to take 
nieasores for *' ttie good state of Ferrara," in accordance 
,^tla Venetiaxi. interests.' Fresco appealed to Venice, and 
Vem<^ supported liis daim. But Pope Clement V, as 
suzerain, adoi>ted the cause of the Marchese Francesco, 
,^^tl^ *^*; ^^^1 intention of reducing Ferrara to the direct 
aoi»i*******° of the Holy See. His Legate, the Cardinal 
^j-^ti&o or A.maMo Pelagrua, assembled a lai^e army in 
^A^enxiA, un<i^r the>ders of Lamberto da Polenta (the 
l,rotl»«»^ *> I^ante's Francesca), and was joined by the 
j^ajrcbese ra^xoesco himself. On the arrival of the ecclesi- 
astical *^^» ^V- land and river, beneath the walls of Ferrara, 
;p"resco io.to the fortress of Castd Tedaldo, which 

protec ^^^ ^ ^ <::ity from the south, and then, finding him- 
^^i %XO» o r-esist the superior forces of Francesco and the 
X^eg^*^* ^ ^^^ ^ Folco's claims on Ferrara to the 

^e»e* ' ^^<a. surrendered the castle to their fleet which 
\ii^ f^ tro^^ *^® ^°* Seeing the standard of San Marco 
^oa-ting ^pi tile battlements of the CasteUo, the Ferrarese 
op®** ^'••tes to the papal troops — ^under the impression 

Xi^^ . . ^f^^ about to welcome the Marchese Francesco 
^tbeirnghtfva sovereign. 

^*'*»*i, Storia documentata di Venuia, iii. p. 12. 
13 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

" The aforesaid Legate," writes the Benedictine abbot, 
Fra Niccold da Ferrara, " with all his army entered into 
Ferrara with the will of all the people, who all cried out 'with 
one voice : * Viva il Marchese Francesco.' The latter, "who 
was in everything strenuous and daring, here seemed some- 
what timorous. And he began to say to the people : * O 
my dearest brothers, cry no more ' Viva il Marchese iTEste * ; 
but say, * Viva la Santa Chiesa Rotnana ! ' And in such 
wise, against the will of the people and of all his friends, the 
said Marchese Francesco gave the lordship to the aforesaid 
Messere Amufio, the Legate, and made him dismount in his 
own ancient palace, believing without doubt that, in return 
for so great courtesy and for so great hiunanity, that Leg^aAfc 
would freely give back to him the said lordship, as he had 
promised. But he did not yet know well these eo<:.\«svas- 
tical psLstors ; for the said Legate kept the lordship, SLTid the 
Marchese Francesco remained deceived." * 

A tremendous struggle by land and water followed, for 
the possession of Ferrara, between Venice and Avignon. 
The Venetians held the fortress, the papal forces the c^ity^ 
and great cruelties were perpetrated on either side ; untU, 
in the latter part of August, 1309, the Marchese Francesco 
gained a decisive victory on the Po over the Venetian fleet, 
while the ecclesiastical troops stormed the Castello, and put 
the whole Venetian garrison to the sword. Venice 'was 
forced to make peace in 1311, and recovered hejr trading 
rights and privileges ; but practically nothing q^ ^^^^ 
dominion was left to the Estensi. ^x ^^^^.^. 

The Pope made over Ferrara to the government > 
Robert of Naples, whose vicars and chamberlains 



* Libro del Polistore, col. 716. 
14 



^DER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

Catalan and Gascon mercenaries in the name of the 

■p- ^^^ and King. The brutal murder of the Marchese 

T^ous ^^^^ ^^ *^^^ Catalajis in 1312, the crael and treache- 

ofF^^^^^^^^ ^^ *^^ Ferrarese refugees, whom the Bishop 

eteni f^^^^ t>etrayed to the royal vicar in 1314 (the tragedy 

^^^ ^ ^ ^^ certain grim lines of the LHvina Commedia),^ 

rase ^T^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^^- ^^* ^ J^^^' ^3^7' *^^ Ferrarese 
Gascon ^ "^^-^^ and recalled the Estensi. The Catalan or 
man. f^'^'^^^^ ^ *^*^1 Tedaldo was slaughtered to a 

-^^ ^r.««, ^^^^^^^■^■^imication and interdict followed as a matter 
01 course, an*-^ 

l^ates es - ^ prolonged struggle with the Pope and his 

until tile ^^^^^-'^y *^® infamous Beltrando dal Poggetto, 
d in 1333 ^^^^"^si were formally reconciled to the Church, 
Snaldo, Ofc»i -■* ^°^ XXll finally invested the brothers 

^ .^ ' *-^^^i^ III, and Niccold I, with the Vicariate of 

With the i-^t-=^^ .. 

the recogr^"^^ **" °^ **^« House of Este, followed thus 

rrara and -t>L^^**° ^^ *^^ Princes as Vicars of the Church in 

•^® *^"« general reintegration of their dominions,' a 



, T^t this ecfc,^ Sz-60 ; cf. Libra cM Polistore, col. 727. 

Ferrara. X-^^*^** *^® principal places in the Estensian lordship 

■w^ Castd <lWlL "^ *°*^ ^^ svirroiinding country, Argenta, Comac- 

cb»<''j,olesine ••a^ I^nale, Adria, Aiiano, Rovigo, Lendinara, and aU 

•tb^ jascinatiT:^^ ,^^°' '^^xlena was recovered in 1336. Este, 

**Scn ** ^-*^«-^.^ , 5,*°'^ ** *lie foot of the Euganean Hills, from 

■w'*^ t^O ^^P't-t^ J u ^* <»»i1:inued to take the title of Marquis, 

li^^Hese ^*<::», ^7x1* ^**^«ans in 1213, when they forced the 

M»*~-tOt Fr«s,a.— s^^ V TT *'®«»°ie a Paduan citizen. In 1220 the 

^^S^ ^ ^^X^ compeUed the Paduans to restore it, and to 

*■* .Jl^.^-P' •*Vx''^w*^® (I^ocument in Muratori, £»««« Antichitd 

^*fVoO* ^Y ■^^v^^fr'i. 'J^-.t*^" *«rt again, and, though frequently 

^^J^ "^ S^^S."^ V "^^^ '^ thePo^es as a bait to lure the 

:es*^ ^jorn^s^^^ "^^ Venice, it was never permanently recovered. 

^^ ;!!^t caao^ i^t^™ '^''^ ^7 ^*° Grande della Sca4, and the 

^ * 331 the Pope compeUed the Estensi to drop the title 

15 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

brighter epoch opens. Theu* discretion and munificence — 
to adopt in earnest what on Dante's lips had sounded as 
bitter sarcasm — ^induced Italians of every State to visit 
their Court, and even to become their subjects. Among the 
first to do this were the Ariosti from Bologna, who were 
destined to give Ferrara and the House of Este their greatest 
glory. A beautiful Bolognese woman, Lippa di Jacopo 
Ariosti, had become passionately attached to the Marchese 
Obizzo in his exile, and on his restoration to Ferrara she 
followed him and became his mistress. La bella Lippa da 
Bologna, as Messer Lodovico was to call her,* bore her 
princely lover a goodly series of sons, three of whom — 
Aldobrandino, Niccold II and Alberto— ascended the throne 
of the Estensi as vicars of the Church in Ferrara and vicars 
of the Empire in Modena. Obizzo married her on her death- 
bed, and she was buried with great state as lawful Mar- 
chesana in the church of San Francesco, the Pantheon of 
the reigning House.* Lippa's two brothers Bonifazio and 
Francesco, and her cousin Niccold Ariosti, followed her to 
Ferrara. The two former rose to high honours in the Court, 
and were among the principal advisers of Obizzo's successors ; 
Niccold Ariosti founded the third Ferrarese branch of 
his family, from which the great poet was to be bom. 

of Marquis of Ancona, which they had used since the beginning 
of the thirteenth century. 

1 Orlando Furioso, xiii. y^. 

* " On the 27th day of November (1347) died the noble and mag- 
nificent lady, Madonna Lippa degli Ariosti of Bologna, wife of the 
magnificent and illustrious Lord of Ferrara, Marchese Obizzo, whom 
he espoused in the last infirmity of her death, with the knowledge 
and licence of the Holy Father, Messere Pope Clement VI. By the 
which magnificent lady the aforesaid Marchese Obizzo generated 
eleven children, to wit, seven male and four female. She was buried 
at the Place of the Friars Minor at Ferrara with most great and 
magnificent honour " (Libra del Polistore, col. 801). 

16 



UNDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

The first great representative of the New Learning to 
enter the gates of Ferrara was Francesco Petrarca himself, 
who found a cordial welcome at the Court of Niccold II in 
'370, and was intimate with his younger brother Ugo.* A 
few years later Benvenuto da Imola, Petrarca's friend and 
Boccaccio's pupil, made amends for Dante's bitter scorn of 
the House of Este by dedicating to this same Marquis that 
famous conunentary which an English scholar has given to 
*he public in our own days, and which is still perhaps the 
''^s** as it is certainly the most entertaining book ever 
written upon the Uivina Commedia* Afterwards, at the 
Marchese's request, Benvenuto composed for him his 
j'*f>eUusAugustalis, a summary of the Uves of the Emperors 
from Julius to Wenceslaus. It was to gratify this same 
AW^"^*** Fra Niccold, " Master of Sacred Theology and 
Dot of Santa Maria da GaveUo," wrote in the vernacular 
a species of universal history from the origin of the world 
down to the year 1367— the Libra del Polistore, already 
quoted.* The successor of Niccold II, the Marchese Alberto, 
summoned the learned Donato degU Albanzani of Prato- 
ve^o, who (like Benvenuto da Imola) had known 
e ana and Boccaccio, to undertake the education of his 
th*^Str **^^ }*ter, there came from Florence a branch of 
ozzi, flying from popular violence and Medicean guile. 

» sSinS^ ^»»«««m. xL 13 and xiii. i. 
ComoetUam, editerf^***^**' Comentum super DatUis Aldigherit 
1887. ^ Lacaita and W. Warren Vernon. Florence, 



» The latter portions 



days, were pubSh^°^' '***'*°^ '"**' *^® events of the Monk's own 
xxiv. Alessandro KT^^ Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 
BiUioUca BodUi ^^^^'^ {CtUoUogo dei Manoscritti Italiani nella 
TiialioKhi are in****** **^- ^7, 28) has shown that Muratori and 
Bartdommeo da p'^' ^^ ascribing this work to the Dominican, Fra 



17 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Nanni Strozzi, gallant soldier and accbmplished courtier — 
the son of that Carlo Strozzi who, as one of the leaders of the 
Parte Guelfa, had been expelled from Florence after the 
Tumult of the Ciompi — settled at Ferrara towards the close 
of the fourteenth century. He married the daughter of one 
of the noblest Ferrarese houses, Costanza de' Costabili, 
served the Estensi for thirty years, and died fighting under 
their banner in a war against Milan in 1427. We shall find 
the children and grandchildren of Nanni Strozzi plajdng no 
smaU part in the subsequent history of the Ferrarese Court. 

And in the following century, as the Renaissance dawned, 
others came to make Ferrara a second home ; from Padua, 
the Savonarola; from Sicily and Verona, the hvunanists 
Giovaimi Aurispa and Guarino, " la diva Greda rivelando." * 

Besides the great House of Gonzaga of Mantua, to which 
they were bound by ties of common interest and frequent 
intermarriage, there gathered round the sovereigns of 
Este a group of lesser princes, also connected by numerous 
marriages with Ferrara and with petty Courts resembling 
theirs upon a smaller scale. Such were the Counts of Cor- 
reggio, the Pico of Mirandola, the Pio of Carpi, and the 
Boiardi, citizens of Reggio, feudal lords first of Rubiera and 
then of Scandiano. 

Thus was gradually constituted the pecuUar society of the 
Court of Este, which during the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries shone with such a blaze of artistic Ught that it still, 
to some extent, dazzles our moral eyesight, and which, if it 
can hardly be said to have inspired, is at least reflected in 
the work of the two great romantic poets and the one great 
epic poet of the Renaissance in Italy. 

^ Of. Carducci, Alia CiUd di Ferrara (in RifM RUmiyn 

18 



UNDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 
But, before turning to these princes of the Quattrocento 
and Cinquecento, a few general remarks must be made upon 
the State and government of Ferrara. 

There was a darker side to this cultured Court life of the 
Ferrarese capital. The beginning of each reign was marked 
by palace conspiracies and followed by sanguinary execu- 
tions. The papal investiture of the vicariate of Ferrara 
frequently induded several members of the family; brother 
succeeded brother, and bastardy was held no obstacle. 
There were nepliews, therefore, sons bom to brothers in 
lawful wedlock, who saw themselves supplanted by their 
uncles, and the palaces thronged with discontented bastards 
of Este, who saw in these young princes a chance of 
bettering their own position. Sometimes these legitimate 
scions of the House fled from Ferrara to other States, and 
attempted to maintain their claim with foreign aid. At 
other times the unfortunate nephew stood his ground, and 
was led into a conspiracy against his successful kinsman. 
In these cases no mercy was ever shown. When Alberto, 
legitimated son of Obizzo III and Lippa Ariosti, succeeded 
his elder hrother Niccolo II in 1388, there was a nephew 
Obizzo— the lawful issue of another brother Aldobrandino 
by his wife, Beatrice da Camino. This prince, who had a 
large following in the city, took occasion of his uncle's 
absence from Ferrara shortly after his accession to plot 
against his Ufe. On Alberto's return, the plot was dis- 
covered. Obizzo and his mother were beheaded at night 
in the dungeons of the newly erected CasteUo Vecchio, and 
then, with the most rigid regard for form and ceremony, 
solemnly buried with full honours in the church of the Friars 
Minor. Their confederates— including Giovanni d'Este, a 
bastard brother of Alberto's own, and his wife-were pubUdy 

19 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

tortured to death in the streets and squares of Ferrara, and 
a noble lady, Costanza dei Quintavalli, was burned alive.* 

" The feeling of the Ferrarese towards the ruling House,'* 
writes Burckhardt, *'was a strange compound of silent 
dread, of the truly Italian sense of well-calculated interest, 
and of the loyalty of the modem subject." In theory the 
people, represented by the Judge of the Sages, confirmed each 
succession by solemnly consigning the sword and sceptre to 
the new Prince, and before the high altar of the Duomo 
received his solemn oath of maintaining justice ; in reality 
the government was an absolute despotism, though usually 
of a benevolent type. There was less even of the appear- 
ance of communal liberty in Ferrara than in almost any 
other State of northern or central Italy. No popular 
councils appear even to have been simcunoned during the 
two centuries with which we are concerned. The adminis- 
tration of the city was in the hands of a small council, the 
College of the Twelve Sages, which was presided over by the 
Judge of the Sages, who was appointed by the sovereign and 
held office at his pleasure. The Sages held office for a year, 
and occasionally, in affairs of great importance, some six or 
more additional members, aggiunti^ were added to their coun- 
cil — all nominated by the sovereign. A recent writer on 
Ferrara in the fifteenth century observes that this Coimcil 
of the Sages in reality is nothing more than " a body of 



* Details of these horrors in Frizzi, iii. p. 377. For similar atro- 
cities, on a smaller scale, on the accession of Alberto's elder brother 
Aldobrandino in 1352, when Francesco di Bertoldo d'Este (grandson 
of the Marchese Francesco, whom the Catalans murdered in 131 2) 
attempted to obtain the lordship, see Lihro del Polistore, coll. 827, 
828. This Francesco's son Azzo in his turn conspired against the 
son of Alberto, Niccol6 III. Even more dramatic examples will 
be found at the beginning of the reigns of Ercole I and Alfonso I. 

20 



UNDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 
magistrates of the Marquis, delegated to direct aU the 
communal business at the expense of the Commune." » 
The Judge and the Sages were paid at the expense of the 
Commune, and every decision of the CoUege that did not 
please the Excellence of the Marquis or Duke was at once 
overruled. The direction of the financial administration of 
the State was entrusted to the FaUori Generali. These 
officials were usuaUy Ferrarese nobles, chosen by the sove- 
reign to hold office during his pleasure. They were two in 
number in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries (three 
later in the days of Alfonso II), one mainly to superintend 
the financial affairs of the capital, the other of the dependent 
cities and towns. These faUori appear usually to have 
appointed the minor officers and lesser functionaries. They 
not infrequently bought their posts, and in many cases were 
corrupt and extortionate in the extreme. It was the policy 
of the princes to tlircw all the blame and odium upon these 
officers ; in 1385 there had been a popular rising in which 
Niccold II and Alberto had been forced to surrender the 
most unpopular of their ministers, Tonunaso da Tortona, to 
be torn to pieces by the mfuriated crowd. It was after this 
event that the great Castle of San Michele, now known as 
the Castdlo Vecchio, was erected ; though the Estensi con- 
tinued to hold their Court in the Corte Vecchia, what is now 
the Palazzo del Municipio, which had been begrm by 
A^zo Novdlo m 1242, after the great siege of Ferrara which 
had left his famUy firmly planted on the throne. Never- 
tbdess,the financial system did not work worse than in the 
other aties of Italy ; it was sufficiently good to allow, 
according to a recent writer, large sums to be gathered up in 

X G. Secco Suardo, Lo Studio di Ferrara a tutto il secolo xv., p- ^ SO- 

21 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

the coffers of the State without putting too great a burden 
upon the resources of the citizens.^ 

In spite of the series of horrible tragedies that stained the 
palaces of the ruling House, notwithstanding the secret and 
mysterious murders into which no court of justice dared to 
pry, there was no State in Italy where the sovereigns were 
more beloved or more loyally served by their subjects. In 
case of war, the Estensi could arm their people and trust in 
their loyalty no less than in the trained skill of their hired 
mercenaries. Though the Ferrarese hated one Judge of the 
Sages worse than the devil and cut more than one Fattore 
to pieces, they did not lay their extortions to the charge of 
the sovereign. In the last days of the Estensian rule, under 
the second Alfonso in 1578, the Venetian ambassador wrote 
that the lower classe3, la genie mintUa, seldom attempted 
to smuggle or evade the customs ; " wherefore, since each pays 
what he should, the revenues are large, and they will become 
even greater by reason of the reclaiming of the coimtry near 
the seashore." * 

The sovereigns were loud in professions of solicitude for 
their subjects* welfare, were desirous for them to be richer 
than those of any other Italian State, encouraged trade and 
generously supported education. Like the Medici in 
Florence, it was the policy of the Lords of Ferrara to dazzle 
their subjects with pageantry, perhaps less from artistic 
motives than from a desire to impress upon them the 
splendour and the glory of their illustrious House. 

In the other cities of his dominions, the sovereign took 

1 Pietro Sitta, Saggio sulle isHtuzioni finanziarie del ducato esiense 
net secoli xv. e xvi., p. 97. This can only apply to certain epochs of 
singular prosperity in the State. 

* Quoted by Sitta, loc. cit. 

22 



^NDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 



^^l>^r^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^ minute details of the conduct of his 

^^tl5 X ' ^^ representatives were obliged to furnish him 

1>^^^^^ Sports, sometimes daily, of what went on. Mere 

^^^Tiote ' ^ ^^ ^ nobles, were forced to travel from the 

r^^^ce ^ ^^^^^ of the Duchy to Ferrara, to answer the 

/^^ ^pti- ^^^'^^^ ^^ *^ appeal to him from the decisions of 

^^ ^^fe ^^ commissaries.* The whole Ufe and being of 

^ ^Ve^ '^^ made dependent upon the will and person of 

a^'^^^^^ses ^' '"^'^ei^^ was practised to a high degree. Two 
rw. ^^ts ^ ^^^ Estensi had been raised to the altars 
J^^Pie.* '^^ ^^ir shrines were highly revered by the 
^^* ^ien ^' ^^^^^^, was known to cry aloud from her 
^^^- Xb^ ^^^ special danger threatened the city or its 
^opes from'^^^ ^^ ^^^^ instrumental in the return of 
^' the Xempor'^^^^^^' ^^^ "^ *^® '^^^^S up of the fabric 
Professedly dexT^^ I^ower that had followed. They were 
^^^ frequentiv ^^^ *^ ^^ service of their papal suzerains, 
return. They ,^^^^^ived the gift of the Golden Rose in 
convents and m ^^ lavish in donations to the Church ; new 
ceremonies of ^^ ^^^^eries arose on every side ; the rites and 
the State, and v^ l^oUcism were a part of the functions of 
members of the ir^T ^ <^^^^ out with the utmost pomp. The 
^^^^g House f oUowed the Blessed Sacrament 
1 This vras uxo^^ 
Alfonso I- ^*^^^^«4.x^?*t!*^y *^® case in the reigns of Ercole I and 
to tlie io^^ ^^ cix^ instances wiU be found in Boiardo's reports 
wHen goveriJor ^^ ^^^^.^^^^ ^^ Reggio, and in Ariosto's letters, 
^ TO Beata. :&^^ Garfegnana, to the latter. 
«,l«r oi ^^f^^^^. ^^1' daughter of Azzo VI (the first Estensian 
\^ello. ^^^ ^e rffJ^l.^^ B^trice II, a daughter of Azzo 
^^ orii^cesa^ua r^J^T^ "^ "^^ sanctity was claimed for many 
^rSiOta ^ «^V ^^^,T^ ^ 1^ connected with the Estensi, 
i^eM'^''^ ^^ M^J^. apotheosis in the curious^church oi 

23 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in procession through the city on the feast of the 
Domini, and blasphemy was a penal offence* A 
chapel was reared to the Blessed Virgin in the cour^^ 
ducal palace, with a much venerated picture of lr~i 
worked countless miracles. The princes were as ^^ 
hunting out nuns conspicuous for their piety to a( 
Ferrarese convents, as zealous in welcoming spiritual 
with a reputation for heroic sanctity, as they ^ 
procuring men of fine stature and strength to 
balestrien or crossbowmen, or in obtaining rare t^ 
animals for their menagerie. At the same tit*^ 
of them appear to have attempted to rival Solo*=^^^^ 
the numbers of their concubines, and their ille^^*^ 
children still baffle the computation of historians 
lasciva was a recognized part of the Court expens^^ 
until the death of Duke Borso in 1471, it was q' 
exception for the reigning sovereign to have been • 
wedlock. 

From the beginning of their rule in Ferrara, a ' 
poetry had shone round the Court of the Estensr 
troubadours of Provence, the singers in the langue 
the thirteenth century, had found generous and co: 
patrons and protectors in Azzo VI and Azzo 
Aimeric de Peguilhan had sung the praises of BeatriQ^'^^T : 
Giovanna, the daughter of the one and the first wife ^* 
other ; the beauty of Costanza d'Este — daughter of . ^H^ 
Novello and wife of that Omberto Aldobrandeschi **o 
whom Dante held converse in the first terrace of the I^ ^^h 
tain of Purgation — was raised to the skies by RaJi^^^^^ 
Bistors of Aries, An Italian trovatore, Ferrarina^ k*^^ 
frequented the Court of Obizzo II and Azzo VII^s^^^^<3 
compiled the famous anthology of Provencal sop ^^ 

24 




UNDER THE WHITE EAGLE OF ESTE 

preserved in the Biblioteca Estense at Modena.* But 
Ferrara produc^ed no real poet in the fourteenth century, 
no lyrist of th^ doke stil nuovo, no singer of the philosophy 
of love to msL-tch even the lesser lights among the Tuscans 
and the Bologxiese. Antonio dei Beccari, the quasi poeta 
(as Franco Sa-criehetti calls him) of Ferrara in the Trecento, 
adored the mexiaory of Dante and carried on a correspondence 
in sonnets wl-tt Petrarca, upon the false report of whose 
death he corrx jDosed a well-known canzone ; but he stands 
practically aloxxe, and wisely claims only a very modest place 
for hiniself.* jjalf a century of humanism and classical 
culture call it: pedantry, if you will — was needed for the 
lyrics and the poetical romance of Boiardo, the latter itself 
but a prelude -to the epics of Ariosto and Tasso. 

^ ^^l\^ ^"t^x-ature of this subject, the Coltufa Francese Estense, 
which <^oes not come within the scope of the present volume, see 
Q^ Bertom, L^^ biblioteca Estense e la Coltura Ferrarese, etc., pp. 4, 
81-34- 

' ^\ A^^^ ^^ ^^® canzone lo ho gid letto il pianto de* Ttoiani, 
Antomo <iescirr\>es himself as : 

* A.nton de i Beccar, quel da Ferrara, 
. ^^€ poco fa, ma volentieri impara." 
petrarca K ^"^f - ^c^- Senilium, ui. 7) speaks of him as " that friend 
of ox^X^^ y^^^^ohXt genius, but distracted in too many things," 
and ^^ ZrT^ ^"^ sonnets to him. He died in 1370. ' In the 
previo^^ J^^^^ an Anselmo da Ferrara, by whom is a sonnet in 
tVie K*^^ T:*'^ ^ Po^^^ Ferraresi (p. i), had corresponded with Fra 



25 



Chapter II 

PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

AT the beginning of the fifteenth century — ^while, at 
Florence, Lorenzo Ghiberti was casting his bronze 
doors for the Baptistery and Cosimo de' Medici was preparing 
to overthrow the Republic — Ferrara was ruled by the third 
Marchese Niccold da Este, nominally as Vicar of the Church 
and feudatory of the Pope, practically as absolute sovereign. 
Niccold was the twelfth Marquis of the House of Este who 
thus held the Ferrarese lordship. Like several of the 
most famous princes of his family, he was not bom in ived- 
lock, but was the legitimated son by Isotta Albaresani, a 
Ferrarese lady, of the Marchese Alberto— that devout and 
bloodstained Alberto whose somewhat mean statue in 
pilgrim's dress still frowns on the fagade of the 
holding the Golden Rose that had been bestowed u 
by Pope Boniface IX.^ Succeeding his father in 139; 
a boy of ten years old, Niccold had been subject to a 
of regency until 1402, and in the meanwhile there h^ 

^ The Bull of Boniface IX, confirming the concessio] 
vicariate of the city of Ferrara and its county and district tc:::^^ 
Marquis of Este and his sons ad vitam, under the annui 
(census) of ten thousand golden florins, is dated May 
Niccold, de soluto geniius et soluta, is only to succeed in t^ 
(quod absit) of Alberto dying without legitimate sons, 
legitimated (Theiner, Codex DiplomaHcus, iii. pp. 16-21), 

26 




^Sfc 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^"«g:Ie to preserve the throne from the attacks of a 

^^^c/j^' ^^ di Francesco d'Este, from the conspiracies 

^^ /^^ y ^he citizens themselves, and from the intrigues 

'^^'^^ticesc ^^^^ ambitious and formidable father-in-law, 

^^^Qijj ^ ^ovello da Carrara, that last Lord of Padua 

j^^. ^^eu ^. j^^etian hangman strangled in 1406. 

.^^^^Ja ^^ ^^^ *te government was placed in his hands, 
^^^ ^^d t^r^^^ ^^ of nineteen found hunself lord of the 



inci**^^ injp^j^'^''^ of Ferrara, which he held from the Pope; 
^Udi^^ ^^^^^ ^ fiefs of Rovigo and Modena, the former 
^^cchio rf^ ^^i^ara, Adria and all the Polesme ; of 



j/^*^^ to be the cause of long and frequent 
^-*^x years ; of Argenta, Lugo and Conselice 
^"^cn years later, in 1409, he slew Ottobuono 



a confenesn,-;^^^'^ GhibeUine tyrant of Panna and R^gio, 

ese two dti^^ ^=fc«neath the walls of Rubiera, and added 

Anosto cal/e«i i^*^ *"^ dominions. Reggio, the giocondo, as 

jewels in the o^^,^* remained henceforth one of the choicest 

already Won^^A^^ of the Estensi— to whom, indeed, it had 

the thirteeatl^ ^^^» as we have seen, during the latter part of 

themforafe^vv- ^^»tuiy. Paima, which had been held by 

and had bea^^^ -^^^rs in the middle of the fomleenth century, 

Mantua,* wa^ ^^^^'^ *^"^ °* * ^^ "^^ ^^^' Verona and 

obtained frot^^ ^'^ed to Milan in 1420. In 1423 Rubiera was 

in 1440 Bagtx.^^ ^Ixe Boiardi in exchange for Scandiano, and 

from pope ;6:x:^^^-^allo and Massalombarda were purchased 

illustrious J^^^^^Hivis IV. Thus were the dominions of the 

Veccliioo^"^^:j^JJ*^* consolidated, and from the Castello 

whicti '*'^ ^V^ ^»J:-a, which his father Alberto had built, and 

X Xne v»ai tVx^ ^* *^^ northern extremity of the citvMth 

rtoK» ♦»•**• tKDre Uterary fruit in Petrarca's sublim^nzone. 



27 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

magnificent gardens stretching dovm to the banks ^/J I 
Po, Niccold d'Este ruled over a rich and noble StaXi/Wf 
aspired, with a considerable measure of success, to j^^ 
the balance of power between the greater sovereign^ ahb 
republics of Italy. 

When once seated firmly upon the throne with his States 
consolidated, Niccold was a prudent ruler, and, after *tfofi. 
conclusion of a brief and tmimportant war with Milan, ivhich 
ended in 1428, and in which he had commanded the forces 
of the Italian League, Ferrara became the most peaceful 
city of Italy. He was frequently appealed to as arbitrator 
by other princes. At the beginning of 1424 the Florentines 
and Filippo Maria Visconti submitted their quarrels to him, 
and his instructions to his ministers for the reception of the 
ambassadors afford a curious picture of the homely methods 
of the day. On January 27, the Marquis writes to his 
FaUori from his villa at Quartisana : " On the third day of 
this next coming February, the Ambassadors of the Duke of 
Milan and those of the Florentines are to come to Ferrara, 
to negotiate the peace which we have in our hands. We are 
certain that they will not wish to stay in the same hostelry ; 
and therefore we would have you send for Antonio Galgano, 
the host of the Angela and for the other of the Swan, and 
arrange with them that they get ready those two or three 
rooms which you and they shall think necessary, or more, if 
they believe that more will be needed, in order that, v^hen 
the said Ambassadors come, they may find in both those two 
hostelries the things in order, so that they may be comfort- 
able and may have good and fine lodgings." * 

* Letter of January 27, 1424, published by L. A. Gandini, 
Saggio degli usi e delle costumanze della Corte di Ferrara ai tempo di 
Niccold III, p. 163. 

28 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^^d j||J^^"eD% had Niccold to interpose bet^ 

"^^^^U^^^* between whom in these years there was " per- 

^^^ ^*^aiTeIs and immortal hatreds," and on these occa- 

j^^^^-ovqi ^'^'^peachable impartiality excited general 

c^^^^cio^. '^^ce it came about," writes Enea Silvio 

^ **^t ^' afterwards that noblest of pontifis, Pius II, 

^^Tf;^^ ougix all Lombardy was ablaze with wars, 

^ ^- i;. ^ ^'^^ ^^ adjacent parts of its dominion enjoyed 

j> ^^ t6^. ^ whoso willed a passage was granted, pro- 

Pe^^^y *® passed through without doing harm."^ 

ba ^ ^^ f *^ia.t the Ferrarese saw of the interminable 

^^^^^<>^ of ^^y ^^ ^e coming and going of the am- 

,^^ Or ^^ ^ "v-arious Powers, who came to Ferrara to 

faf ^^qJt^^ ^^^ ^^"^ ^* P^^- 

^ ^"^ • '^^ttiself is described by Enea Silvio as " a \ 



Ren 



man, 
'^ of 



blen^r-'^^^y- 



Si^^nuptolust." 



His character is a ciuious 



^aissance cuit^^^^^ ferocity with the first germs of 
gious feeling wit-i^^^* ^^ apparently perfectly genuine reli- 
^ther princes of v^ - *^^ most unbridled sensuahty. Like 
^^^S> for pageant House, his great passions were for travel- 

In the last resj>^^^ ^^^ gorgeous display, and for women. 
Caleffini, in hi^ ^ i^ *^^ ^PPetite was quite insatiable. Ugo 
says that Niccol a r^^"^^ chronicle of the House of Este, 
have made the ixxj^ ^^ ^^^^ hundred mistresses, and would 
This is P^^^^^^^x^.Ki ^ **^ousajid, had he not died so soon.* 
exalt the Estetx^^ J^ ^ courtly exaggeration, intended to 
. -1 rlv ^mtes *r^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ Solomon ; but Enea SUvio 
^"!^bU.es, axxa ^' ''^. ^^^-^ ^ept whole troops of 

as qmte indiscriminate in his choice. 



co: 






soxiapo' 



P- 286. •• L'era tropo amoroso la per- 
29 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

" plebeians and countrywomen no less than nobles." ^ He 
appears to have acknowledged between twenty and thirty 
illegitimate children. 

In the spring of 1413 Niccold undertook a pilgrimage 
to Jerusalem, which has been fully described for us by one 
of his company, a certain Luchino dal Campo, who acted as 
chancellor on the voyage, in a narrative which is one of the 
most vivid pictures extant of the delights and dangers of 
travelling in the early days of the fifteenth century.* The 
whole tour took exactly three months, the party starting 
from Ferrara on April 6, and reaching home again on July 6. 
They set out from Venice in a Venetian galley captained by 
Pietro Contarini, and, sailing or rowing as the wind was 
favoiU"able or contrary, they passed down the Adriatic, and 
by the Ionian Islands and the islands of the Archipelago, 
visiting the antiquities of Pola and wondering at the stags 
of Cherso, delighting in the singing of the Greek monks at 
Corfu and in the supper given by the Venetian governor 
in his orange-garden ; equally interested in seeing the place 
where Carlo Zeno defeated the Genoese and the site of the 
rape of Helen by Paris. They visited Rhodes, coasted 
Cyprus, and at last reached the coast of Syria about twenty 
miles from Jaffa on the morning of May 11. The Marquis 
passed himself off as Niccold Contarini, brother of the captain 
of the galley, and their visit to the Holy City, which they 
reached on May 15 and left on May 19, gives occasion for a 
wonderfully convincing picture of the prepotency and 
extortion of the Turks, the devotion of the Franciscan 

* Historia Friderici III ImpercUoris, p. 95. 

^ Viaggio a Gerusalemme di Niccold da Este^ descritto da Luchino 
dal Campo, edited by G. Ghinassi for the R. Commissione pe* testi di 
lingua nelle provincie dell* Emilia. Turin, 1861. 

30 



*?«^4 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^^>^ Ij^ ^^ th& Ho]y Places, the mixture of credulity and 
^ t^^^^^ff^j P^^^rims.as they were shown the possible and 
^^o^}^ 5;fes of the scenes of sacred history and mediaeval 
;]^^rto wif ^^^^^ at the Holy Sepulchre, Niccolo dubbed 
S^^lo.^ Feltrino Boiardo/ Pietro Rossi and 



t\^i 



^etfa 



s r^etinue, knights (the first-named renouncing 



3^aici at th ^^^^^h*^<^d in order that he might receive it 

on Afount r *~^^^*i spot), himself girding on the swords, and 
them ever ^-^^^~y he bound on tlieir golden spurs, bidding 
knighttiood ^ «- ^*^*^l>er where they had received the order of 
he also was a. i^ "^^^-^t:er this the aforesaid lord, who, although 
had ever wait *^^^t, had never borne the spurs of gold, but 

willed that in -e >-. }«itil he came on this most holy voyage, 
f tentbeoae *^*s place Messer Alberto della Sala should 

"Kl^ saying tlx ^^ ^ ^^ ^'^ '*^^^ ^°^^' ^ being the more honour- 
Tacop^ ot ^—^ would go to have the right spurred at 

. ^^by^l^G X^ S^ voyage, they were sumptuously enter- 
^^^7 ^X^^^ ^^^^^xx *^S o^ Cyprus, when the Marquis exhibited 
l^^ ^V^ l^ii-v^^ ^^ drawing a mighty bow that the King 



\t^' 



d &' 

eiy 



draw 



it: 



l^ast his ear, whereas ordinary men could 



\>^^ o^^^^^\^ ^ span. At a solemn supper party 
J^^^ Up^^ ^^^^ ^^ Cyprus^ peacocks were set upon the 

a^ V<5^- __ tieacocks the newly made knights and others 

t^^^^^jtia, t^ ^^^ Marquis himself swore to God, lo the 
^^ ^ place ^j^^ ^int George and to the peacock, that in the 
f*-^^ a,t-artti^ in-^*^^ ^^ should find himself in the company of 
^^^^v.e iaee ^f^^unted.to the number of a hundred 



^Jv^ 



Of 



or more 



i^ ^dl^^ br^^^^ enemy, his should be the first lance that 

^^ *^^n against these enemies, and until this vow 

son was to enshrine this pilgrimage in his Orlando 

KXV. 52. 



f* 






-r*^ 



31 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAR/ 

should be accomplished, he promised to fast ^vexy / j^y^^ 
Messer Pietro Rossi vowed that he would never lie/^^^^ss <L 
were for the State of his Lord, or to save his own life or that 
of any intimate friend of his, and for a remembrance o\ 'tKia 
vow he midertook always to say an Ave Maria when lie saw 
a painted picture of Our Lady. One of the household of tlie 
Marquis, Spinello, swore to aid any distressed woman vrVio 
should ask him, provided that she deserved the naxne 
of . woman — alcuna donna che meriti aver ttoftie di 
donna} 

In the following year, apparently instead of ttie Com- 
postela sanctuary, a similar pilgrimage was undertaken to 
the shrine of St. Anthony at Vienne, when the Marquis viras 
attended by Feltrino Boiardo and a party of gentlemen 
pictiuresquely clad in bright green, and courteously received 
by the King of France at Paris. On their return, the whole 
party was seized by the Marchese Manfredo del Carretto di 
Cera, in Piedmont, who offered to sell them bodily to the 
Duke of Milan, who had not yet recovered Parma. The 
Count of Savoy promptly forced the robber noble to surrender 
his prey, and, in spite of Niccol6's generous intercession, 
he beheaded the chief criminal and razed his castle to the 
grotmd. These were by no means the only pilgrimages 
that Niccolo undertook — the Santa Casa of Loreto and the 
Annunziata of Florence likewise attracted his fitful and 
eccentric devotion. 

But although he made these pious vows and listened 
gladly to the preaching of San Bernardino of Siena, he 
made no pretence of altering his life. His adulteries 

* Cf. Dante, Vita Nuova, § 19, who will write his canzone ** a 
donne in seconda persona ; e non ad ogni donna, ma solaxnente a 
coloro^ che sono gentili, e non sono pur fenunine." 

32 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 
-f^Qj^. ^ ^ve continued uninterruptedly until a few 

^^^ Ca ^* marriage with the ill-favoured Gigliola 



^Vif , ^ ^as childless and unhappy. She died in 141 6 
^^^s i^^ ^^^ ^fe the Marquis had a goodly family of 
^^Hessei^ ^^ ^™ ^^^^ ^^^^^ women. By the beautiful 
^^rrj ^ ^^y Stella dell' Assassino, he had Ugo AJdobrandino 
, '*'^3X ^ "^^5), LeoneUo (bom in 1407), and Borso {born in 



^eliad 



■i -* Vea -^^e (born in 1406, the senior of Leonello 

^^^ ^Uro^^^ ^^rrarese physician; Alberto (bom in 1415) 
^^'^^^^ ^!i,^^^ were the fmit of his adultery with 



J^ea v»Juiii in 1400, me senior 01 j^trorii^uo 

^S'tite^ ^^^ J^ child by Caterina dedi Albaresani, the 



^eZ^^^ Tavola, 



. *^ep 

^^^ M^ere tr ^^'^^ *^* Madonna SteUa had borne the Mar- 
^ chiif}- ^*^^ "y hiin as though they were his legiti- 

as *K-. ^' ^^tx 



were regarded by all the city in that 

*^3.t of an**!^*^ ^* ^^^ Aldobrandino had been celebrated 

^^^ortio, the <-- ^^ ^tate. At his christening in the 



^^ssa, afternr; 



^x-dinal 



Legate of Bologna (Baldassare 
^mini and Jl^^^^*^ ^^P^ John XXI 11) and the Lords of 
3.nd ambassa^ci^^ ^^ ^^^ ^tood sponsors by their procurators 
Bishop of McKi^^* together with Niccold de* Boiardi, the 
city. The A.r^^ ^* ^^ ^^^ name of the community of his 
holiday* ^^t^ V. ^^ "^^^ds of Fenara had made a great 
the BisJi^P 01 x> ^"^^^^ ^tid a sumptuous tournament ; 



clergy. 



had 



Son, 



errara (Pietro de' Boiardi), with aU the 
^^ m solemn procession,^ The Magnifica 

a t>riciof^QP^ ^a.^*^^^'^^°^*'"^^y called FiUppa, is niinied in 
««iritttal iavovir^ .^^1. dated AprU ^6, 1 471, which grants various 
spinxi* y Alberto Eatr^r^.l ^f r.^;ii. „L;^.;.; .„^ '' 



Camille genitrici sue ' 



-*-. otatetn^j^^ ^^o-^nno/es Estenses, coll 1035, 1036. The 
jacopo (wriUng with authority as the chaa- 



cxp 



33 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Madonna Stella herself was regarded as no mere light-o'i- 
love, but as one to be treated with all honour. Her palace 
is still pointed out in the Via della Tromba. It is highly 
probable that, on the death of the Marchesana Gigliola.^ 
Stella expected to succeed to her dignities. She was bitterly 
disillusioned. In April, 1418, Niccold took another 
wife — that hapless heroine of romantic poetry. Madonna 
Parisina de' Malatesta, the daughter of Andrea de' Mala- 
testa and Lucrezia degli Ordelaffi — and brought her in 
triumph from Ravenna to Ferrara. Stella's death, in the 
July of the following year, mercifully saved her from the 
sight of what followed.^ 

cellor of the Marquis and before the catastrophe of 1425) is that 
Ugo Aldobrandino was " the natural son, the first begotten male, 
of the illustrious and magnificent Lord Niccold, Marquis of Este, by 
the magnificent Lady Stella dell' Assassino." And similarly, 
Enea Silvio Piccolomini {Historia Friderici, p. 94). Writing under 
Borso, Ugo Calefi&ni — for obvious reasons — implies that the hapless 
prince was not the brother of his sovereign, but the son of Caterina 
Albaresani (Cronaca di Casa d*Este, p. 285). It is more difficult to 
comprehend why Bandello {Novelle, i. 37) makes Niccold's grand- 
daughter, Bianca di Sigismondo d'Este, insist that Ugo was the 
legitimate son of the Marquis by his first wife, Gigliola — unless it 
be merely to heighten the effect of the tragedy. 

* She was buried in state in San Francesco (JHario Ferrarese, col. 
184). "Quanto fo bella e bonal" writes Caleffini (he. cii.), " de 
ogni virtti la portd corona." Similarly, Enea Silvio tells us that 
men said she was a virtuous and wise woman, who had been cor- 
rupted by force and by the promise of marriage (Hisioria Friderict, 
p. 95). In the Biblioteca Estense at Modena is still preserved a 
Latin poem in hexameters in honour of Stella, dedicated to Gio- 
vanni degli Assassini by Galeotto Marzio da Narni (Cod. Lot. 66). 
The Assassini were a branch of the Tolomei of Siena, who changed 
their name when they settled in Ferrara. As the said Galeotto 
Marzio has it : — 

" Mutantes patriam, mutabunt nomina : dicent 
Namque Assassinos Ptholemea stirpe creatos." 
Several members of the family frequented the Ferrarese Court 
during the fifteenth century (cf. Bertoni, op. cit. pp. 14, 25, 55, 64). 

34 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

ii^^^^^csana Parisina bore her husband one son, who 
^^tf r ^^^ ^ ^^^ weeks, and two twin daughterSj Ginevra 






tier in • — — — ° — — 

cia. JTig documents still preserved in the Archivio 

, ^a^Modena show her to have been an ideal great 



keei 



great 
^e Middle Ages.^ We find her a diligent house- 
^^ att '^^^ ^*"^* account of the linen, taking care that 
^^"^ ^dants of her stepsons are properly attired. She 
^^Utc/j ^^®^*°&Iy generous to the poor, bountiful to the 
^^'tiu ^^ convents. To her donzelle, her nmids-in- 



^^tti ' ^ w-as particularly kind and generous, finding 
. ^ a cJq ^ ^^^bands, providing each on her marriage 
^^y d ^^* ^^^^^h her corredo or trousseau, and with those 
^^ ^ feat ^'^^.^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^ wedding-chests that formed 
. P^els ^^ ^^ bride's equipment in Italy and of which 

P^Ctuj.^ . ^Jiiong the treasures of our museums and 

^* ^ tnisted ^^ to-day. a certain Pellegrina, daughter 
^^Wn as Z ^^^^^^ of the Marquis, one Giacomo Rubino 
^y her and ♦- ^' appears to have been specially favoured 
^casionofh^*^ ^^ted with the utmost generosity on the 
Was a lover ^^^ ^^^arriage at the beginning of 1423. I^arisina 
them to ra.c^ ^ hors^ and had a notable stable ; she sent 
Milan, and J^ ^^ *^ polio at Verona, Modena, Bologna, 
favourite Jck^Ic: ^^.' ^^^ especially in 1422 and 1423 her 
of red and Vv^v.- * Giovanni da Rimini, wearing her colours 
she took pl^i^^^ ^' carried oil victory after victory .=* Also 
The Ferrariis^ ^^^ ^^ J^trnting and hawking. We find her 
Count Bmilio -:?5foS'^t ""^^ ^^* ^^"^"^ ^^^her Giavanni, but 
that,i^^® '^^^^^^^rds of th x'^^^ ^^""^ ^''"^^''" Douglas, informs me 
A.ntoni<>- ^ Tolomei of Siena, his name is given as 

1 See G^^^Uii c 

and M8^'' ^^^^^Ijla '^o^* ^^' ^ ^^^^^ cosiumame, pp, 152^15/. 
docU^^^' ' ^ ^ ^^r%sina : Storia e kggenda secondo nuot^^ 

35 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

sending to foreign cities for choice perfumes, for rich em- 
broideries and personal ornaments, for rare birds in cages. 
But of her moral qualities and mental endowments we 
know next to nothing. She loved music, especially the 
harp, upon which she had her little daughters taught to 
play. We read of Fra Maginardo, her chaplain, bu3dng 
a psaltery for her, and of a cartolaro Bartolonuneo selling 
her an office book of the Madonna covered with black vel- 
vet.* If she read at all in books of a Ughter character, 
the literary fashion of her husband's Court would have led 
her to dwell upon the passion of Guenevere and Lancelot, 
the guilty loves of Tristram and Iseult.* And for her, like 
that other Romagnole spirit whom Dante met in the Hell 
of the Lovers, there came a day when she " read no more." 
The Marquis brought up his younger sons with con- 
siderable rigidness and parsimony. Borso and Meliaduse, 
when studying at Bologna and Padua, were even kept short 
of clothes to wear. When the plague threatened Ferrara 
in the summer of 1424, their father sent Meliaduse to 
Modena and Borso to Argenta, with the strictest provisions 
about the number of servants and attendants that they 
might have about them, and with a rigid charge to the 
camarlingo of each town, in whose charge they were put, 
not to let them have friends to dine.' But for Ugo there 
seems to have been no restriction of any kind, and the 
registers of the Court expenses in these very years show 
Niccold and Parisina rivalling each other in caring for his 
wants and pleasures, in providing him with clothes and 
money, horses and hawks, even with a harp— the latter, of 

• * Gandini, op. ciL p. 152. 
* Cf. Bertoni, op. cit. p. 19. 
' See documents quoted by Gandini, op.^oii. pp. 158, 159. 

36 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

course, being Parisina's gift/ In these years Leonello was 
away from Ferrara, having been sent in 1422, under the 
care of Nanni Strozzi, to study the art of war at Perugia 
under the famous condottiere, Braccio da Montone. 

All contemporary evidence concerning the tragedy that 
deprived the Marchese Niccold of his wife and heir appears 
to have been destroyed, and it is not easy to distinguish 
between fact and fiction in the story that has been handed 
down to us. All that is certain is that in the course of some 
journey that they took together— possibly to Ravenna, 
the city of Francesca and Samaritana— Ugo became the 
lover of his stepmother. One of Parisina's maids, who had 
been beaten by her mistress, betrayed the secret to Giacomo 
Rubino— that very same whose daughter had been treated 
with such generosity and affection by the Marchesana— 
and Giacomo brought the Marques to a place where, him- 
self unseen, he was the witness of his own dishonour. His 
vengeance was prompt and terrible. On the night between 
May 20 and May 21, 1425, the guilty pair were arrested in 
the Corte Vecchia, and conveyed thence to the Castello. 
There are two horrible dungeons shown in the Castello, 
beneath the Tower of the Lions. One, a little higher than 
the other, has a direct conununication with the outer air 
of the court, and at times admits a faint gleam of day. 
The other is on the level of the moat ; its floor is usually 
covered with muddy water ; it receives air and faint light 
through a long aperture with treble barriers of iron bars. 
The tradition has it that into these ghastly cells the 
deUcately nurtured lady and her princely young paramour 
were thrown ; but it has recently been pointed out that 
the only two records that can in any sense be regarded as 
* Solerti, op. cit, ii. p. 65. 
37 





DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA m / 

contemporary both agree that the place of their iit/ >^y23K»!7' 
ment was the so-called Torre Marchesana, the tower m 
which at the present time the great clock is placed.^ Either 
way, their imprisonment was brief. The Maxqiiis rei\ised 
to admit either wife or son to his presence again, and the 
intercession of his most trusted advisers, Uguccione de' 
Contrari and Alberto ddla Sala, proved unavailing. On the 
night of May 21, Ugo and Parisina died by the headsman's 
axe in the Torre Marchesana. Ugo perished first. Then 
Parisina was led to her death by that same Giacomo 
Rubino by whom she had been betrayed. Thinking that 
she was going to be thrown into an oubliette or trabocchetto, 
she kept asking if she had yet reached the place. She 
asked after her lover, and, hearing that he was already 
dead, exclaimed, " Then I no more wish to live." Wheiv 
she came to the block, she laid aside her ornaments, and 
with her own hands prepared her neck for the stroke. TYie 
same night their bodies were brought to San Francesco 
and quietly buried there. Aldobrandino Rangoni, -who 
had been Ugo's friend and accomplice, suffered the same 
doom at Modena.^ 

All that night the unhappy father and husband paced 
up and down the halls and passages of his palace in desperate 
grief, now gnawing his sceptre with his teeth, now calliixg 
passionately upon the name of his dead son or crying out 
for his own death. It is stated by Ferrarese historians 

1 Solerti, op, cit. ii. pp. 75, 76. Cf. the Diario Ferrarese, col. 
V. 184. In BandeUo's novella, Bianca d'Este represents Ugo bb 

imprisoned in the Torre dei Leoni and Parisina in the other tower. 

2 Fra Paolo da Lignago, Crowaca, If. 114, 115 ; Frizzi, ill. pp. 450- 
453. Matteo dei Grifoni, in his Chronicle of Bologna v. '^^^^^^ 
that two of Parisina' s maidens were likewise beheaded^^^*'^*^ 
Italicarum Scriptores, xviii. col. 230). ^ 

38 \ 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

and chroniclers that, on the following day, he sent a written 
report of the tragedy to all the Courts of Italy, and that on 
the receipt of the news the Doge of Venice put off a State 
tournament that was to have been held in the Piazza di 
San Marco. No trace of such a document has ever been 
found, either in the Archives of Modena or in those of 
Venice or any other of the States with which Niccold was 
in close relations.^ The Marquis is said, by one of those 
half-mad perversions of justice habitual to Italian despots 
of that age, to have ordered the execution of several noble 
Ferrarese ladies who were notoriously serving their hus- 
bands as Parisina had served him — " in order that his wife 
should not be the only one to suffer," as Fra Paolo has it. 
One, Laodamia de* Romei, the wife of one of the judges, 
" who was known to him," appears to have been publicly 
beheaded ; * but, after her, the edict went no further. 

After Parisina's death, Niccold had many bastards, male 
and female. A daughter, Beatrice, who was for a while 
the Queen of Feasts in Ferrara, was bom in 1427. A 
Ferrarese proverb said: "Whoso would see Paradise on 
earth, let him see Madonna Beatrice at a festa." ' After 
her father's death, she was married first to Count Niccold 
da Correggio and afterwards to Tristano Sforza. She 
bore to the Lord of Correggio a son, also named Niccold, 
bom in 1450, whom we shall meet many times in the course 
of this history. Beatrice's mother was most probably a 

^ Solerti, op. di. ii. p. 79 '» but I think that the passage from the 
pe Pditia LiUeraria (ii. 13), to be quoted presently, proves that 
some such step was taken by the Marquis to justify his action. 
« Fra Paolo, Cronaca, ff. 115, iiSf. 
^- * Cf, Lu«o and Renier, Niccold da Correggio, i. p. 208. They 
, ' X however, that the saying may possibly refer to Niccol6's 
point O^^litcr, Beatrice di Ercole d'Este. 

39 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Stimulated by Guarino^s presence and his genial-'*^ 
thusiasm, Ferrara became one of the most cultured and^ 
learned cities of Italy. The Marquis himself gradr^^^^ 
acquired a library which was, for the times, a not iM^^^ 
siderable one. In an inventory in the year 1436 ofc^l^^/ 
" Libri del nostro Signore," there are 279 manuscript 



down, which were stored in the Torre di Rigobello, ^^^ 
chief tower of the Corte Vecchia, where the House of 
Este kept its secret Archives.^ Learned men and artists 
flocked to Ferrara, especially in Niccold's later years, when 
Leonello was in the first flower of his manhood, and were 
always cordially welcomed ; Vittore Pisanello painted the 
portraits of his children and cast the sovereign's own some- 
what grim features in striking bronze medals ; Michele 
Savonarola, at his invitation, came from Padua to be his 
Court physician and to hold a chair at the Studio. 

^ See Adriano CappeUi, La Biblioteca Estense nella prima mstd 
del secoh XV, where the complete inventory is given, pp. 12-30. 
Nearly 200 of these were naturally Latin, including classical writers, 
theologians, and mediaeval authors. There were 58 French MSS., 
including a great number of romances, to 23 Italian. Among these 
latter the minor works of Boccaccio are particularly abundant, 
while there are only two Dante codices, catalogued as " Libro uno 
chiamado Danti" and "libro uno chiamado el scripto sovra el 
purgatorio de Danti " respectively. There are two French trans- 
lations of the Bible, a Greek MS. and a German MS. — both unnamed. 
One of the treasures, which is still preserved at Modena, is a Caesar, 
Commentarii de Bella Gallico, decorated with miniatures by 
Giovanni Falconi of Florence and with marginal annotations from 
the hand of Guarino himself. That mysterious Greek manuscript 
seems to have disappeared, but was perhaps a Strabo, as in May, 
1470, Sdpio Fortuna, one of the librarians, writing to Borso in 
answer to his demand for " il Strabone in greco," says that he has 
no Greek book in the Tower and never had, but suggests that another 
librarian, Biarco di Galaotto, may possibly have it. (Document 
published by Bertoni, op. cit, p. 259.) The famous Torre di 
Rigobello fdl in 1553. 

43 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

* verily declare," wrote that acute scholar and aident 

^ter of codices, Giovanni Aurispa, who had precede 

^•^o in the Court of the Estense as the frecettore of 

«^use, " that I love this Marquis of mine not otherwise 

^J°^ as a. good son loves a sweet and gentle parent." » 

°^ was j-digion neglected. A genuine saint, Giovanni 

^^m da Tossignano, held for a while the bishopric in 

Succession to Retro de' Boiardi. Bernardino of Siena was 

Aeard gl^<31y by the Covirt and people alike, and nowhere 

els^ save in his own city, has he left so enduring a mark in 

the D«ml>er of the sacred monograms that we still see in 

tbC ?**"*^*^ *** Ferrara to-day. 

j^ftorgeiovis and many-coloured episode in Niccold's long 

^^^^s. the assembling of the abortive Council of Ferrara 

^ t438. The Holiness of Pope Eugenius, John Paleo- 

log^' Eniperor of the East, the Patriarch Joseph of 

(^osUntinople, with the Latm cardinals and prelates, 

tl»* J**^ ^clesJastics, and representatives of the nobles 

oi aly gathered together under the protection of the 

Ijooseo Este. Humanists swarmed, and lent their services 

^^^^^^^^ between East and West. Giovanni Aurispa 

w\e T "* ^^ ^^y 'Bziiher the office of papal secretary, 

"^^o h ^"^** ^^^' mystified the Patriarch of 

^i!ree u ^*"*^ ^^ ^*® °* *" imaginary chUd martyr 

bl ^ ''°*^*^°^ and heroic constancy should bring 

^LflZ^ !° *^* ^^'^ ^* these worldly prelates and fathers, 
■{heedless to say that +>. • « * x^ 

V-« T « ^^* young pnnces were weu to the 

^^Zn^ lighted the Pope's Holiness with a 

*rTl7 !° ''^^ choice Latin, while Borso ahready gave 
tne first signs of t"hQ+ i 

«-nat love for mamificent display which 
* Letter of 14,7 „ ^ 
Giovami Aunspar^\^ "* Sabbadini, Biografia documetUata di 



PP- 72^74. 



43 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

became his ruling passion in later life. The Marquis 
himself was present at a banquet given by Ugo Benzi of 
Siena, ^^ who at that time was held the prince of physicians," 
professor of medicine at the Studio, to a ntunber of 
learned Greeks and Latin humanists. When the banquet 
was over, the tables were removed, and a vigorous discus- 
sion was held concerning the chief points at issue between 
the rival schools of the Aristotelians and Platonists, Ugo 
saying that he would defend whichever part the Greeks 
thought fit to oppose. After several hours of ardent 
disputation, Ugo Benzi put to silence one after another of 
the Greeks. It was thus made manifest, writes Enea 
Silvio, that '^ the Latins, who long ago had overcome the 
Greeks in the arts of war and in the glory of arms, in our 
age excel them also in letters and in all branches of learn- 
ing." ^ 

Three years later, on December 26, 1441, Niccold died at 
Milan, where he had been attempting, as a generous friend 
to both parties, to establish peace between the Duchy and 
the Venetians, and to set in order the State of the last of 
the Visconti, Filippo Maria. In his will he named Leonello 
as his successor, and after Leonello's death, Borso, and only 
after Borso the two legitimate sons, Ercole and Sigismondo. 
His body was brought back to Ferrara, and buried on 
January i, in Santa Maria degli Angeli ; ^' and he was in- 
terred bare without any pomp, because he so commanded 
in his testament." • 

Leonello d'Este was a scholar and a poet, '' a true humanist 
upon the throne." * His military training under Braccio 

* Opeta {Eufopa, cap. 52), pp. 450-451 . 

* Diatio Ferrarese, col. 191. 

> A. \eixttm,L'Arte a Fsrrara nel periodo di Borso d'Este,^, 690. 

44 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^ontoRe had not made a soldier of him, and he only 

•'od his real self on his return to Ferrara, being now— 

*■ the tragical death of Ugo Aldobrandino— the recog- 

f^ . ^®ir to the sovereignty, when he plunged into the 

"«y advancing waves of the Classical Revival. To him 

ffQ ** **^ influence was due, almost entirely, the chaise 

0/ Qj***^*^^*®^ ferocity to at least the outward semblance 

hj., ****^^^ and refinement that marks the latter part of 

Btf^^^*' reign. 

^xn^^T ^® advent of Guarino to Ferrara, Leonello had 

spoDl^*^ considerable culture and was already in corre- 

jjj ^"^^^^^^ witl^ li™- It was, indeed, an event of no small 

and UK*^*"^** "* ^^ literary world that first drew the prince 

}^^ scholar together. In 1428 Nicholas of Trier, one 

of the jy — . « . . - ^ 

a Germ.; 

comedli 

lost. 

Orani, _ 

render l::«^s prize more precious, stubbornly refused to let 
either X*-<«=>ggio Bracciolini or Guarino hhnself have a copy 
q{ it, iaa spite of the latter's assurance that, if his request 
is gta-xi-t^*i» "while the Comedies are called Plautine from 
tb«9^ ^^'^^*""' *^ *^ ^ iiamed Ursine from their re- 

,^nae»^ ^«anno found himself installed in Ferrara as 

^^Xo's master, he appealed to him, and the young 

^^^quis promptiy wrote to the Cardinal, to request the 

\<J^ ° f.^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^ own use. His most reverend 

^^ aiustnous Lordship deemed it not politic to refuse, 

iJf^ A^^^'^'^J^ Giordano Orsini. in Pez and Hueber, 
^^urus Anecootorum Novissimus, Tom. vi!. pars iii. p. 165. 

45 



I*^*-pal collectors of tithes in Germany, discovered in 

convent a codex of Hautus, containing sixteen 

twelve of which had until then been supposed 

le codex was purchased by the Cardinal Giordano 

^ho, under the impression that he would thereby 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

and Leonello wrote exultantly to Guarino (^vlio iva 
rarily absent from the dty) to tell him that the f 
in his possession. For the gift of such '' immortal 
Guarino wrote his pupil a letter of enthusiastic g: 
^^ Greater thanks in da}^ to come shall students 
whole order of lettered men pay thee. For all shall kn 
by thy work and intervention, Plautus has been 
from darkness to light, from the caverns to the 
from death to Ufe." Henceforth, Leonello and < 
were united by bonds of the warmest affection. 
the former was away from the city in his counti 
resting from his studies and engaged in hunting, h* 
day sent the humanist presents of game in proof 
prowess, accompanied by elegant and spirited Latin 
" sweeter than honey," describing his sport ; the p 
Guarino received with delight, as marks of his p 
pupil's continual recollection of him, the letters he an 
back in kind, with lavish praise and genuine admix 
For him, Leonello is his " King and Lord," the " '. 
of Princes." 

A vivid picture of Leonello and his circle, in the 
years of the reign of the Marchese Niccold, is given 
the Milanese humanist, Angdo Camillo Decembrio, 
curious and Uttle-known book, De Politia LUteraria,^ 
he undertook with the intention of dedicating it to Le 
himself, and, after the latter's untimely death, ins< 

* Thirteen letters from Guarino to Leonello (including tl 
quoted on the Plautine comedies) in Fez and Hueber, op. c 
154-164. Cf. Rosmini, op, cii. i. pp. 62-69, ^^nd Voigt, i. pp. 56 

• Politiae Litter afiae Angeli Decembrii Mediolanensis, 
Clarissimi, ad summum Pontificem Pium II, libri sepiem. I 
from the Augsburg edition of 1540. Neither the British Mi 
nor the Biblioteca Angelica possesses a copy of the Gist e 
printed at Basle in 1527. 

46 



PRINCES AND HXJMANISTS 

to Pope Pius II instead, Angdo, who represents himself 
as having been present at the scenes described and listening 
to the discussions which he professes to report, shows us 
the young prince surrounded by the elect spirits of the 
literary society of Ferrara, gracious and genial, treating 
them all as friends and equals and treated by them in the 
same manner. In every word and action there was a cer- 
tain studied refinement, revealing a thoroughly harmonious 
character attuned to all that was seemly and beautiful. 
Something of this was traced even in his dress, the fashion 
and colours of which were carefully sought out so as to bear 
some mystical correspondence with the course of the planets 
and the order of the days of the week. The disputations 
which Angdo records are practically informal lectures by 
Leonello or Guarino — on the formation of a library, on the 
great dassical writers, espedally the Latins, Virgil above 
all, and on kindred topics. Leonello is the life of the whole, 
and, in his absence, the discourses that Guarino delivers 
on Greek derivations and the like are dull in the extreme. 
The other interlocutors merdy put in a remark at intervals, 
"""ow out an objection, or by some timdy question open 
a new subject. Among the older men we see Fdtrino 
^^lardo, the Lord of Scandiano, whom we have already 
met ; Uguccione de' Contrari, still the old Marchese's most 
trusted adviser ; Alberto Costabili, and Giovanni Gualengo. 
^e younger men are the prince Alberto Pio da Carpi, to 
more famous in a later inheritor of his name. Carlo 
voione, and the two sons of Naimi Strozzi, Niccold and 
^to Vespasiano. The last named, then a mere boy (lie 
was born in 1422), was already showing himsdf the most 
P ot all Guarino's pupils ; according to his son, he had 
Rested, not merely read, at the age of thirteen, all tlxe 

47 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARI 

chief Latin and Greek poets ; even at this early 
Latin l3nics were the pride and delight of Leonell 
— as they were destined to be for the more modem a 
of his two successors. 

We see, then, in Angelo's pages this courtly and s 

group, now walking together in the cool evening to 

discussing as they go, now sitting under a great lai 

in the garden, now meeting in the Corte Vecchia 

nello's own private apartment, which was decorat< 

portraits of the great heroes of antiquity, now riding 

the stars on a hot summer's night *^ to that castle c 

palace, of all in Italy the fairest, in popular speech 

Behiguardo.'' ^ A little volume of Sallust in Lee 

hand, or a picture on the waU of a palace cham 

enough to start a discussion on Roman history or I 

historians, but more frequently Virgil or Terence will 

the theme. Nor are the theologians denied a ph 

Leonello's ideal library. And though the vem; 

writers are dismissed as '* those books which some 

on winter nights we explain before our wives and child 

a sonnet of Petrarca's (the well-known Cesare poi cheH i 

tar tPEgitto) is thought worthy of more serious discus: 

On cme occasion the whole party sets out by shi| 

Venice, in attendance upon Leonello, who '' in the he; 

of his youth, conspicuous in his golden neck-chain and { 

worked cloak," is going in the stead of his father to am 

a peace between the Most Serene Republic and I 

Filippo Maria of Milan. Arrived at the City of the Lago 

^ This palace of Belriguardo wad aboat seven kilometers i 
Ferrara, near Voghera ; the other, Belfiore, was then outside the w 
near the place where the Certosa still stands. Not a trace of ei 
of these buildings remains to-day. 

> De PoHHa Utteraria, i. 6, ii. 15. 

48 



:• . N. .- 



V - : : . :3 



.: .- V .^. 



^■1: 



. • . . i:- :•. ... .■ I M:«^ '-. ^\' u - J v 
■ L, '■ '. ail. / : h ' { !*y /-« » > : *•• ':is 






^ ' • • ■ '^' '■ "• i.H V.I ' • .: i' ,! ^ • -ij 
' ''"■ . '"■' 'ii 'f, {.'if- ,' *.' ■' «» .:, . ' .' ■■ 

a. re- "': ' ;r , j^l r -.-" ^ .\ ,!■, . m : i .. 

. 5 • \)" ' L' il !•- '\' .r.T j J ., ., .^ ^■. . f; ^;. .. 



i'L 



■*' ' -TK \ ■ !\. ' I ..1,1 






\'-. ..'J 






\. 






PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

y^^etfo discourses upon Homer and Virgfl with the young 

^ etfan patricians who have come to meet him, \mtil it 

ql ^® to enter " the sublime palace of your Senate." * 

Of „^°*l»er occasion, after hearing Mass on the feast day 

^Jobxa. the Baptist at Ferrara, Leonello and his following 

jijj^ ^ tfae invitation of Giovanni Gualengo to taste the first 

li5^® o< his garden, after -which they go up into his 

flow ' "'yiwch he has all decorated with white and purple 

'^^ ** diffusing grace and love with wondrous fra- 

dBcii*^-' '**-^®®<*' * strangely dramatic note is struck in their 

y, *^*=^ - Leonello, with (to our modem notions) a curious 

" ®«»:»^bility, defends the famous passage in the second 

**^»-«-4«w»i where Aeneas threatens the life of Helen, 

•"y the e^^L^unple of the vengeance his own father had taken 

upon biis -fcrother and stepmother, but a few years before. 

"You ba^-^^e seen," Angeb represents him as saying, "my 

own fat3:».^=r, a more recent and familiar example in this 

matter («=r«nceming whom I si>eak not because he is my 

father, l:>-«:»t as fame bears testimony), among the Italian 

polices "fc^^r far the most famous for his observances of 

jj,jjijaiM.-t:5?^» justice, and piety, ^^en he saw what he would 

^ l*aL-vc» '^ot seen, put to death his wife, together with his 

goft, ^^^^ stepmother with the stepson. Was my father 

gjv coia<a«nned on account of this sort of vengeance, after 

♦H6 a*^*^*'^^*'*^ ^ ™a<Je public ? By no means, but by 

\.e 6«**®'^ ''P""®^ of all the fault remained upon the 

p, PoUda UtUrana. i. 1 1 . 

, jbia. a. 21. 

* ^'P^i^"^' "• '3- Very differetrt w» the judgment 
oi *^S^ " S^*^* ^^ ** «i«iicated. " He was held." ^t« 
^pe»s" , "wth by others and himseli to have been cruel to his 

49 



\i 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Although united by ties of tenderest afiection ±0 
brother Borso, whose prompt action had secured tli< 
of Modena and Reggio at the outset of his reig^, £ 
practically shared the government of tlie 'E 
dominions with him, Leonello foimd a more S371X1; 
companion in his special tastes and pursuits iti ±lLi 
of his elder half-brother, the bastard Meliaduse, wt 
the death of Ugo Aldobrandino, had been forced i 
the Church by their father (a fate he had tried ta s 
flight), but who seems to have shown no signs of e 
wards his more favoured juniors. Meliaduse shan 
nello*s friendship with humanists and artists, with . 
and Guarino, Leon Battista Alberti and Pisanell 
there are several letters extant, written in Latin fro 
nello in Ferrara to Meliaduse in Rome during their 
lifetime, which give a pleasant idea of the characil^<^^ \ \ ^ 

mutual relations of these two young princely 1 ^^ , -"^^- 

These Latin epistles, which Leonello addressed to f"^ J^ ^ '^:^ 
distinguished humanists of Italy, do not strike U£-..^]^^I^rH|i ^/ 
as anything very remarkable ; but they were greatly ^"^"^^^^'^^ ;||i^ ^1^ 
by his contemporaries. Guarino, in the funeral t^' ■-— -^^' w^- y^-y 
that he pronounced over his noble pupil's bier, cii^ "^^HT^^I' '>^t^i 
as extant monuments of his sifpereminent erudition — - — ^ "^k .*^ !^ \ ' 
in such faultless and choice Latin " that he ap^^^^^igr as 
very near to the diction of the ancients," aiidEn»^«r:^==^"^*'^^'^^ 
Piccolomini, going a little further, declared that tt^_» 



son and unjust to his wife, from whom he wished to exact 
he gave. But this was the reward of his promiscuous h 
he kept faith to his wife, nor his wife to him. The weak( 
penalty ; the potent sinner, whom the world dared not \\ 
reserved for the judgment of God." (Historia Fridrnc-^, 
tons, p. 950 

^ See R. Sabbadini, Biografia docutnentata di Gmannin^^--^^^ 
pp. 58-61, and Mancini, Vita di Leon Battista Alberti. 

50 




I'RINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^quaj to -the letters of Cicero.* Leonello was a most 
^^^exit collecr-tor of codices of the classical authors as well 
^^ of the eax-ly Fathers, and is said to have been the first 
to demons f:x-at:e the apocryphal character of the supposed 
correspondcjxioe between St. Paul and Seneca.* He was 
em-ulous, his I^ranciscan admirer Fra Giovanni da Ferrara 
tells us, of -iztx^ ^ame and glory of those ancient heroes who 
shoxie alike l>3^ ^*he splendour of letters and of great deeds.* 
He is reported -fco have composed a Latin commentary upon 
his o^wn ac-f:ic:>x:i^s— a species of autobiography of which no 
fragrrients atir^ :mnow extant. His one great hero was Julius 
CaesaJT himself, to whose name and honour he dedicated 
a sp^^^ ToormrmrM, in the palace. At his instigation Guarino 
translated -tliB.^- Commentarii da BeUo GaUico, and dedicated 
to bi*^ ^ tr^^trise against Poggio, who had exalted Scipio 
over- Caesar among the captains of antiquity. On the 
occasion of Xl^^onello's marriage with Margherita Gonzaga, 
pis^eUo Pr^s^i^^ed y^ ^^j^ ^ portrait of his hero, Divi 
Jul^^ /^^^^^ ^iffigies (whether picture or medal does not 
apP^^^^^^ "*-^^oneUo was so deUghted with the gift that he 
^^"^tie <iiplo "^^^ ^^"^^ *^ ^^ man who brought it.* 

''^ e his cT^^^^ which the Marquis issued in 1450, shortly 
l>efor '^^^i'^xx death, in favour of Michele Savonarola— 

m^er^^ P* ^^^C^ ^*^* *' ^* ^^^ * ^ene<u Sylvii Pit Pont Epist, 105 

Sl^ll^S^oggio^,^-!- For more extravagant praise, see the passages 

^?^essed to 1^^ ^^Uelf o quoted by Voigt, i. p. 560. See also the poem 
fTfi^GclV^ ^^irx^"^^^ ^ ^^^ NeapoUtan humanist, PorceUio, beginning, 

^irLs^^^ ^o^*^^^' Prmceps LeoneUe, mearum Munera " (Carmina 

^^^ CJi' ^« f^o^^*'^*^ Italorum, vii. p. 515). 

3 -fobaim^^ >*-» a LiWerana, i. 10. 

4 SeeVa;s^;^r=^ ^rrariensis, i4nna/es, col. 453. 
^^^ Otiaiuxc^^* ^^^^ ^^ Pi^^^^^<>> ed. Venturi, pp. 38, 39. A letter 

f^^^^j IS VTx -t^^^ Leonello, encouraging him to defend the glories of 
* -*=^^2 and HueY)er, op. cit. pp. 156-158. 

51 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARi 

Leonello delighted in music and in the servio 
Church. In his palace he built a beautiful chapel, 
ously furnished and decorated, and had a special 
singers brought from France to serve it.^ Alt! 
reared few new buildings in Ferrara, he was an a 
discriminating judge of the plastic arts. The Sj 
Santa Anna (founded originally by the good bishop, ^ 
da Tossignano, who died in 1446), and the Palaz^ 
in the Borgo Nuovo (now much modified as the S 
Arcivescovile and famous for Garofolo*s frescoes). 
only buildings of importance that he erected. 
his precious manuscripts, as well as his art coUec 
Belfiore — one of those famous ddizie or pleasure-p>; 
which the House of Este excelled, and which, ^ 
solitary exception of Schifanoia, have all disapj 
which had been left to him imfinished and ^vhich 
pleted. Before and after his accession, his favourite 
was Vittore Pisanello. " Pisano, the most excellent c 
painters of this age, when he came from Rome to 
promised me of his own accord a certain picture 
by his own hand, in which was the image of the 
Virgin " — thus he writes to Meliaduse in 1432, nil 
before his accession. " I marvellously long to 5 
picture, not only because of the excellent geniu5 
painter, but also because of my special devotion 
Virgin." * The picture is now in the National Gs 
London. PisaneUo cast many medals with h a^ 
features, and painted his portrait at least twice, a / =^ 

* Johannes Ferrariensis, col. 456. Cf . Ugo Caleffini in th( gge=a 
Chronicle (pp. 288, 289) : " Quanto li piaceva li vespri ^^ 
messe! " 

' See the letter in Sabbadini, op, ciL pp. 58-60. 

54 




l| 



I^MNCES AND HUMANISTS 

escsunpie b&x^S ^ ^^ ^^^^ coUection at Bergamo.^ Flavio 
Bioxido could congratulate the Marquis in 1446 that his 
coizi3^e was iraodelled upon the style of that of the Roman 
Emj>erore.* WT:ien Ciriaco of Ancona, the great anti- 
qusurian hsLV^Uesx: of that age, visited him in the summer of 
X44.9, I^neUo showed him with special pride among his 
piclnires one l>y^ Roger Van der Weyden ("Rugerius Bra- 
giensis '') rei>res«nting our first Parents and the Deposition 
from the Cxx>ss^ which seemed to the humanist " painted 
by divine ra.-tfci.^:r than by human art," and in the palace of 
Belfiore a i>si.im:B.-ting of the Miises, by Angelo da Siena, 
SLdom^^l with. SI. Xatin epigram apparently by Guarino.' 

Xbc5 friendsIzMjLx^ between Leon Battista Alberti and Leonello 
g^^j^^3 to ha.-v-^ Ibegvai in 1436, when Alberti dedicated his 
conx^^y ^^^o^^^^Ho {Fahtda Philoioxeos) to him, as the 
brotto^^ ^* hi^ ^vexy dear friend, Meliaduse.* The occasion 

1 ^^J?^al^^^*^**"^ Niccold's deatb Jacopo BeUini and Pisanfillo 
psJxMf^^^^ the^^^ •-*^Mts of Leonello, ajxd the old Marquis gave the pre- 
f creri<^^ - Vassi^^?^^^^**^ ^®^ *^® sonnet by the poet Ulisse, in Venturi's 
'^^^^^^^^^/inng^^t^ T^»<a d«/ Pisatte//o, p. 46). In the Louvre there 
is a- ^^^a, yoiiiw». "^^^Tso by Pisanello and also a highly finished por- 
trait ^^ but^!^»/^-^y ^^o™ Gniyer (ii. p. 29) took for Margherita 
^^^^^^s^B as oxx^^*^ Venturi (toe. «/. p. 69) is probably right in re- 
<^*'^^^5^^ogical ^^^^^ ^^^ the Estensian princesses, LeoneUo's half-sisters. 
^***j^^ Who in ^ ^=^^derations make it probable that she is either 
^^^ ^ S-tefano [^^[T*^** married the Count Oddantonio of Urbino and in 
J^^^ggio in x^^.^,^^^pani, or Beatrice, who married Niccold da 

^ Coluccil/^^lS:^*"^^^*^' ^^\^^ Ciriaco Anconitano, pp. I43-I45, 
i^ ^^^ Van a^^ -^elle AnHchitd] Picene, Tom. xv. (Fermo, 1792). 
^^^.^^^ed^tkx ^^ >?Veyden's painting has been, rather questionably, 
^ ^3<^tJ^^-^tx<^^ X^icturenowmtheUflizi. Angelo da Siena worked 

^^^ .-ST^ :F«^^ar^^_^ »^d Borso, but no Sienese influences can be traced 

^^ Vjjod. ^^*^ di Lean Ban. AlberH, ed. A. Bonucci, vol, i. pp. 

55 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

of the Council of Ferrara brought the architect 
prince together, and cemented their friendship, 
returned to Ferrara in 1442, and was most cordially 
by the Marquis. " When I came to visit thee," h 
** the readiness and kindness of my reception at ti 
showed clearly that Battista Alberti was right well 
to thee/'^ Alberti hesitated at first about sen 
works in the vernacular, written ^^ in such wis4 
might be understood by my not very learned fellow-< 
to Leonello. '' I feared that they had not as mucl 
as was needed to be read by a prince of such lea 
thyself." But the Marquis reassured him, and the 
tine was delighted to have such eminent suppor 
appeal to the vernacular. '' Right glad was I, not 
do a thing to please thee, but also to find that thou 
most erudite, did not find fault with me for that fc 
many blame me, who say that I have offended the 
of literature in not writing so eloquent a matter 
Latin language."' 

Here we see Leonello a worthy precursor of Lore 
Medici ; but M. Gustave Grayer notes that it was so: 
unfortunate for Ferrara that, less wise in this respe 
his Mantuan brother-in-law, he encouraged Alber 
man of letters rather than as architect. Leonello i 
utmost delight in all that he wrote, whether in Lai 
Italian, and kept urging him to do more. It wa 
instigation that Alberti's chief literary work, tb 
*• Books on Architecture," De Re Aedificatoria, was \ 
as Alberti himself tells Meliaduse in his Ludi Mate 

^ Dedication of the T&og$nio, ibid. vol. iii. p* 159. 
s Ibid, p. 160. 

' Ibid. vol. iv. p. 424. For the relations of Alberti with I 
cf. especially Mancini, Vita di L. B. Alberti, pp. 188-197. 

56 



S'^INCES AND HUMANISTS 

In X44^ 1,^ -sfVSLS invited to decide upon the merits of two 
xi'val models ^o^ ***« equestrian statue of Niccold III, to 
be erected ir» £x-oat of the Corte Vecchia, the present Palazzo 
del Jtfunidpxo O^^ pedestal, alas, alone remains to-day). 
This sugges^^sd ^o him his corioiis little treatise in Latin, 
De Eqtto A-9S*-9»*^'>f^i dedicated ** to Leonello, Prince of 
Ferrara., and ci^slight of the human race." 

«« "Wlico I c^uBxa.^ to Ferrara," he says, " for the sake of seeing 
and saluting tti.^5*, most illustrioias Prince, it is not easy to 
teU ttie grea.-t cielight that detained me there, seeing thy 
most: Iseautiful <ri-ty, thy right modest citizens and so accom- 
plished, and lc"iTK<31y a Prince as thyself. Verily, I under- 
stood Icxfyvi iaip»<r»artant it is to spend life in a republic in which 
one d^oey^^ i»i l«sisure and tranqxiilUty of soul, an excellent 
father of his c=ountiy and one most observant of the laws 
and customs. It added to this pleasure that there I met 

with a. most plcsa^^^^ gjjjj excellent occasion to exercise my 

iuteU^*^ Tbot^^^ ^°°* *° **** • '^^^**' i»<*eed, I took most 
gladly' ***^^ ^^*^ oxar sakes. For since thy citizens had de- 
*''*®** ♦rian sta? *** the Forum, with magnificent outlay, an 
^'^^^ ding to J''*^ °* **'^ ^**^' ^^ exceUent artists were 
cont^ not a U^"**^^' "" *^® matter, they chose me, who take 
**™ Wher-e^"*^* " painting and modeUing. as arbiter and 

^^^L made ^'^^^ as I again and again looked upon those 
^^""T'to coti^A"*^ admirable workmanship, it came into my 
*^*^ ♦he out^^*^^^ "°'* diUgently, not merely the beauty 
^^ \^ and WL^ appearance of horses, but also their entire 

5!^a v»hi<iir^'^*''^ ^* "^^ ^ for the Studio of 
^exr^ oith^ during the latter part of his father's reign, 
io.sP"»- _^^«sence of Guarino, had lost ground consider- 

*«*>*Mto« AlbMrH, Optra inedita, etc., pp. 338-239 
57 » 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAR 

aUy. In this his object was not merely '* to pul 
the clouds of ignorance and to infuse the light oi 
into the minds of his citizens/' as the Franciscan 
vanni has it, but also to promote the material weU 
the city by preventing promising young men fron 
ing elsewhere, and by attracting wealthy and 
foreigners from other States. At the instance of tl 
board of magistrates who were appointed to pres 
the affairs of the Studio, and aided by the ca 
Guarino, he thoroughly reformed it in the years 
1443. All incompetent teachers were banished 
city, and the Marquis sent to every part of Italy 
tinguished professors and lecturers in all branches 
ledge, whom he rewarded with generous stipei 
welcomed, as a contemporary put it, " with a mc 
countenance and with sweetest words." " With th 
zeal," writes Fra Giovanni, " he set himself to br: 
renowned and learned men in both branches of 
illustrious physicians and grave philosophers (of 
was one), eminent theologians likewise, poets, dialc 
orators skilled both in Latin and Greek eloquence 
means of Aurispa a genuine Greek, Theodore Gaza, 
Ferrara in 1444, to profess the language of Hoi 
Sophocles. " Touching that Greek," wrote Carlo 
pini to Aurispa, " who by thy doing has been su: 
to Italy, and especially to Ferrara, to educate yoi 
who have any dealings with the Muses and all w 
thought for the glory of the Italians should be im 
beholden to thee. In this matter all will easily 

* Johannes Ferrariensis, col. 457 ; Borsetti, L pp. 47-5^^ 
i. pp. 563, 564 ; Gruyer, i. p. 39. It should be observed tl 
stipends were paid by the Commune during Leonello's rei 

58 



miNCES AND HUMANISTS, 
Jiow^gj^jjy. tlae higher culture is indebted to the illustrious 
i>nzxce leoi^e^o-"* It appears questionable whether Gaxa 
^^^*«allyhel^ a ^*^ at Ferrara, but he was Rector of the 
trttiveraV>=>* .Arts for the scholastic year I44&-I449-* '^^ 
men, witi otJ^^^^rs, the leaders of the Uterary and philosophic 
society of Is'^nraJa itself, met at the table or in the gardens 
of the Marqixxs, who held a kind of informal Academy in 
the palace of I^^lfiore, a development and extension of those 
early literacy gatherings and disputations recorded by 
Ang^elo Dece«m:l:^rio. Of these too we have a picture, some- 
^ItSL-t idealize^d stnd tinged witb a monkish colouring, in the 
Afpf^^^^ ^^ -ti:M.si.t worthy friar who wrote himself down a 
« grstv« philo^fcc^pher," Fra Giovanni- 

XrcE«> it m.^«ist be admitted that most of these men who 
thias gathexi&<a. round Leonello's throne were mediocrities, 
tha-t there^ ^w-^ls more pedantry than genuine scholarship, 
miic-l* wntin^r^ ^j La^ ^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ j.^^^ ^^ poetry. 

GuaJriao and -A^ixrispa are, perhaps, the only two that have 
left ^^^^^^ ^«^^rk in the world of letters, though many, 
and ^ fdj '^'^eodore Gaza» were instrumental in the 
spread^ ^ ^^^r-^ in Italy. Xito Vespasiano Strozzi stands 
^^^^4ef wo^^ ^^^ genuine poet of Leonello's circle, and 
"^JTrrn^t^ >^longs to a later epoch. 

\ffraXicesco ^» however, pass over m silence the name 

^* rLo^e of ^^.^^^ Princivalle Ariosti, called "Peregrinus," 
^ ^badini ^^'^^^ ^^^"^^^ *^ the student of his times.' 
9 Qeg^'^f**^** ^^^^ <»7. p. 96. 

.— .«£i tliat Ux^ ^^cA«te Saoanarola, pp. 22, 67. It wiU' be remem- ^ / 
^^MUB tlic**XJ:^^ Studio corresponded to our modem University, V 
^*^^^^int^^^;V^er8ities" were the associations of teachers and 
^*^** ^Uis ^T^"^ ^^^jfferent iacnlties. 

_JL«ccS^ ^<a :^^^^ ^T^^ ^ ^ ^ confused with another 
:F<^^^^^e Btc:o\^^'^^^**^ Anosti, the poet's nnde, who was semscaUo 

59 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAR 

Francesco, then a very young man» composed s 
little dramatic idyl, the Iside, consisting of two Lat 
put into the mouths of the girl Iside and one of her r 
lovers. Iside has been converted from a munc 
by the words of a sacred preacher, divinus orator, t 
herself henceforth to penitence and austerity, 
taught me to cover up my vain hair with veils, of 
vn31 to put off the paint from my cheeks. Jei 
gems adorned my brow ; for jewels and gems the H< 
is given me." The representation was givei 
Leonello and his Court, the nobles of Ferrara anc 
gathering of people, and it may, perhaps, b< 
to speak highly for the moral tone of the Marches 
that this curious little play appears to have been a 
But the greater part of Francesco Ariosti's work 
that of Tito Vespasiano Strozzi, in the reign of L 
successors. A man of considerable scientific att£ 
and singularly wide, if not particularly deep kn 
he was one of the principal personages of the Coui 
scientific treatises, devout brochures, Latin poe 
vivid descriptions of contemporary events, and evei 
high among the diplomatic agents of his sovereig: 
In foreign affairs Leonello continued the polic 
father. He successfully kept clear of the political 
and interminable wars of Italy, and throughout 1 
reign the peace of Ferrara was not disturbed, 
and Latinist of Hungary, John of Csenicze (bette: 
as Janus Pannonius), came, a mere boy, some t 

^ Bertoni, op, cit, p. 178, note. He adds that the autho 
representation "fabulam veridicam." Some elegant 
had, perhaps, been converted in Ferrara by a popular Len 
of repentance. 

60 



PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

*^^i^een years old, in the latter part of Leondlo's reign to 
sit at the f «e* of Guarino, and in his chief poem, addressed 
to tkis mas^^r-, the pacific city appears in a golden haze of 
ideal prosj>«r-it:y :— 

I*acMJ3 ^rt aJigeri Ferraria mater Amoris, 

Qua. i=*.eKi*»s in geminos iteruxn se dividit amnes, 

X-uget; ^^t sunbustum fratrem pia silva sororum> 

From his lofty watch-tower m the sky, Plato looks 
do^vvn iipon -tii.^ realization of Ids ideal, a wise State ruled 
by 3. philosojg>lier King. Under Leonello's pacific and 
oHiglxteaeA ^^way, to this one city has the golden age 
TotJXMmed : 

.An non ^p^turni sunt illic secula patris, 
^B®^ Til:»i. xiulla fremunt, nisi qoae descripta l^untur ? 
^^P^ 'y*'*^' laetas populo i>laTidente choreas, 
Intiw ±cs^t:^ sonant, et picta, palatia surgunt, 
Arvajtc«™ g^^^ 

^ -**««-^=a atnbo, plebs praeside, plebe tyrannus. » 

^"^^ . ^^* the poet continues by a pardonable and 
pio^^^f^ ^^* ^^ the work of Guarino, whose mfluence had 
caris^^ an^^^^^ ^^ ^ chosen prince instead of his warlike 
*>^^*^^^^^ '?^^^ induced him to rule in accordance with 
bis precept ^^^^-e :- 

- *o tri?«ri» stre^^^^^^ther of Peace and ^vinged Love, where the Po 
*^^1, for their^r^ divides itself again^ and the loving wood of sisters 
^^Acy^^ T>x^^^~^ ^^^/' <:^ani Pannami, SUva Panegyrica, 
^^ ^o^J'^^^n. l:^^^^^^^_*^? faWeof Phaethon falling into 



„^^^_ a to Po^V^ wmgs were scorclied in the sun, his sisters being 
f rnTi^ :«nad^ >:>^^i?®' *^^ .*®^ converted into amber. Fine use of 
«^ .. Are nc»t:^,^5^tfducci m his Alia Cittd di Farrara. 

,_ -j^a »^^ ^>^^^^!^ ^^^^ ^^ ^*^®^ Saturn there, where no wars re- 

^^^^1 tx^^sic, t^^ ^^^^ *^ ^®*^ ^^ ^ ^w>k8 ? where within is ever 

* ^^^ce3 tia^> ^w!^ crowds applauding the bUthe dances, and painted 

^^^ZT ^^*^vC»^ ^tl^o^^P^atyonnches the fields with her loaded 

^^^^^^^ -goo^^ .f^^ both, the people m its guardian, the sovereign 

61 



DUKES AND POETS IN PERRARA 

Ambobus aed ta tantoram cauBa bonoram I 
Per te, Mais alias lituis dum perstrepit oras^ 
Sola vacat citharis Ferraria^ sola triumphat^ 
Principibus foecunda piis^ foecunda disertis 
Civibus, et pariter cunctis habitata Camenls. ^ 

Unlike any other sovereign of his House, he 
troubled by rival pretenders at home. ' The Mai 
Ricciarda had retired to Saluzzo shortly after his a< 
and in 1445 Leonello and Borso sent her two sons 
and Sigismondo, to the Court of Alfonso of Naple 
brought up with Prince Ferrante at a safe distan 
Ferrara. Leonello's first wife» Margherita Gon^ 
whom he had been married in 1435, was a meet coi 
for her husband, a learned princess trained in the 1 
school of Vittorino da Feltre ; she died before his ac 
leaving him one son, Niccold, who was bom in 14 
1444, Leonello took another wife, Maria d'Aragona, 
daughter to the King of Naples ; Borso and M 
brought her in triumph to Ferrara at the beginning 
She died childless in December, 1449. 

This Aragonese alliance produced a remarka 
vek>pment of the Estensian diplomacy. Bor 
carefully studied the condition of the Kingdom un 
newly established Aragonese dynasty, and devised a 
for the general pacification of Italy under one hes 
October he returned to Naples, invited by the Ki 
stayed there until the end of April, 1445. In the 
of Leonello and himself, speaking throughout fo 

^ "But to both art thou the cause of so great good 
Through thee, while Mars makes other regions ring with t 
Ferrara alone is free for lutes, triumphs alone, fruitful in 1 
princes, fruitful in eloquent citizens, and at once the dwell! 
of all the Muses" (Md. 431, 438-441). See the whole 
addressed to Guarino, lines 401-441. 

63 



J^RINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^or<l my jt>tr<ytMieT and mjself," he warned Alionso that 
be ^ivas bitrt^^iy hated by his new subjects, urged him to 
S^^io. their Xo've, to arrange his expenses and husband his 
resources, -to iziake peace with all the Italian potentates, 
and espedaJly to gain over the Pope, Eugenius IV. Borso 
had visited -tlx^ latter at Rome on his way, and had found 
him in a conciliatory disposition towards the King. Duke 
Filippo MsurlsL of Milan is slowly dying; the House of 
the Viscoati in H-ombardy is " halted like the Devil " ; Fran- 
cesco Sforza ^uirB.<3 the Venetians are preparing to seize upon 
his heritage. aLet his Majesty prepare to make himself 

master of Lonottardy on the Duke's death. "By means 
of tbe House of Este," said Borso, "which is loved in 
Ix>nxl>aTdy LLlcr.es €od, your Majesty will most easily enter 
into tlais f ta.t« and lordship of the Duke ; you will obtain 
** ^^** iST "^^^ pacifically and with the greatest pleasure. 
^^^ Ti«. b^T^^ ^^^® ^^' y*^'*^ Majesty can say that you 
*^^^ bt at aS^ **^ °* ^^y' *^' it is that. And there is 
''^Ji^^jiins ^»L**^** ^*"" Majesty wiU be Kingof Italy."* 
h a do«Su^^^ *P*' ^*^ ^**^ returned to Ferrara 
'^*««rs inAlf***^"* empowering LeoneUo to arrange 
^ FmpPoM:^^**^^'^ °^« ^th the dying Duke. Nor 
r Tacopo d^J^^ «^^** ^y reluctance to the royal design ; 
iirn fra»»*^^ :t?"- ^**"*' Bishop of Modena, who came to 
■ tbc spring "^5^6'*^** *° L'^igi Mainero, Leonello»s agent, 
"i «,«jJKionia|». * ^447. he professed himself most desirous 
^^T^d l^ ^^Vlfonso to Milan for the protection of his 
^*^ tb« earXx. ^^tes. But events moved too rapidly. 

^^ summer of 1447, at the instance of Pope 

» See *•'* ****-^ 
r>iro*os«» t<^ *^^^^ document published by Cesare Poucard. 
^S^^X. **•**« Cor<« £s«««« ad Alfonso I Re di NapoH^W. 

63 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAR 



Nicholas V, who had succeeded to Eugenius, a 
was held at Ferrara to arrange peace between 1 
Venice. The ambassadors of the chief Italian St 
under the presidency of the Cardinal of Burgui 
represented the Pope. The congress broke up 
on the news of theydeath of Duke Filippo I 
August 12. The attempt of the Aragonese facti 
occupied the Castello of Milan, to declare for 
proved abortive, and the next day the Ambrosian I 
of Milan was proclaimed. 

Pier Candido Decembrio (the elder brother oi 
Canullo), who had been one of the two Milanese on 
the congress, now entered into the service of the Rt ^^ 
and wrote the life of the late Duke, taking as 
the life of Tiberius by Suetonius. Filippo Maria YiSi 
in August, but in October Decembrio had complet.v 
work and sent it to Leonello, as to a kind of literary dl 
to ask his opinion of it, before publishing it. Tlie IM 
professed himself much delighted with the book axid fla 
at it having been left with him in this way, tnxt st] 
advised the author, seeing that his writings mtou. 
immortal, either to strike out or to veil wliat lie hac 
concerning a secret vice of the Duke's. Decembrio ^ 
back that he had not mentioned this vice to bring in 
to his late Prince, but rather praise and glory, st 
that his not passing it over in silence would make pt 
lend faith to what he reported in his favour. Neverthc 
he altered the passage in deference to Leonello's opir 
and the alteration was much commended l>y the lat 
In the general though, as it proved, temporary dissolu 

^ Rosmini, op, cU^ i. pp. 109, no ; Borsa, PUf Oofndido JOecen 
pp. 83, 84. 

64 



// > 




PRINCES AND HUMANISTS 

^^ the donxinioiis of the Visconti, Parma— finding itself hard 

i>re88ed "by -Alessandro Sforza, the brother of the Cotint 

Francesco -ogered to return to the House of Este. But 

•^-^oneDo, :fin<iing Venice opposed to any annexation of 

"O^is Idnci oxe fais part, declined to accept it, and Parma fell 

into the Ixstncis of the Sforza. The Milanese Republicans 

somefwha-t x - es ^t on ted Leonello's action, and he wrote to 

I>eceinbrio oaa. the subject, who assured him that the love 

of bis fello-w— cntizens for him remained alwajrs the same.^ 

This was ixB. -tlie spring of 144.9, ^* before the end of the 

yeax the slrs-oart-lived Ambrosian Republic was at an end, 

and in M:a.xr<sl3, 1450, Francesco Sforza, the great condot- 

tiere. was f>aroclaimed Duke of Milan. 

On Jnljr ^ of this same year, 1450, by the intervention 
of I-eonello and Borso, a new peace between the King of 
jja^ples and <:i,e RgpubUc of Venice was cdebrated in the 
Palace of B^Ofiore. The bringing about of this peace was 
Leo'*®*^* *^st poUtical action. 

^'**bylir*^ ^'^^ ^^ Marchese Leonello, as handed down 

*** *^oke ^_^^^*»temporaries and admirers. Very probably, 

^^^ features ^^^ ™'^** ^*®'**y ™cense has somewhat obscured 

^^^ 8uge^_^* *^® ""^ '"'^^' and it may possibly be, as 

v^ o^evnlea^^^' *^* ''^^ ^^ a courtly fiction passed for 

J^eo ti^e ^^i*^ ^^ ^ °^*^ i«isight was in reahty Guarino's. 

\,is place^l^^^^y "^^ humanist assures us that the Mar- 

^e 1^® o« V^ -^'^ ^^^^ "^^^iXiA his palace, but relied upon 

v!^ t it repT-^** V^V"^ it may be a mere figure of speech ; 

^4. is ab>UiS^^^** *** ^™® ®^«** the real state of things. 

lc*Xf<i^ ac^^*^y ^^ that he was an enlightened and 

■P^*^ ^^ixeign. That he was not reputed equal to 

» Boraa, op. ott. p. 84. 
65 



DUKES AND POETS IN FEF 

his father in liberality, as Enea Silvio Picc< 
may not be altogether to his discredit, 
gitimate son, Francesco, who was older thi 
in the year of his father's second marriage 
under the Duke of Burgundy ; but the swee 
immorality brought against him rest oi 
authority.' Probably the Ferrarese diai 
very much overstate his case : " He was a Ic 
of most honest life, a lover of piety, most c 
divine religion, a lover of the poor, liberal 
a studious hearer of the Holy Scriptures, pat 
sities, moderate in prosperity. He ruled I 
peace with great wisdom." * 

^ De Viris Illustribus, p. i6. 

' Giraldi, ComtMntario dells cose di F&nofa, p. 92 
fini's statement about his contaminating Braccio's < 
zovene bona e bella " (Cfonaca di Casa d'Este, p. 287). 
sensuality are directly contradicted by Enea Silvio, D 
bus, p. 16, and I know of no contemporary author 
accusations of tyranny and cruelty (i. p. 563). 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 197. 



66 



Chapter III 
DUKE OF MODENA 

IHE rei^xs^ of these two noble brothers, Leondlo and 
Borso:, *le sons of Niccold and Stella, were an age 
of gold for is'^xrxrara. There was somethuig in their character, 
derived per-I^2LX>s from their beautiful Sienese mother, that 
diff eirentiatoci -them from their predecessors and successors 
of -tl*^ Hous^ of Este ; more blithe and genial than their 
j^jj^^uaen, t±i.^ darker shadows in the history of Ferrara 
liajTcHy ^I>^^*-r during their reigns; conspiracies are few, 
and* ^^^ '^'^^li^ix they are brought to light, the repression 
tba-i^ follows,, -tlxe inevitable butchery, has not that pecu- 
lia^^ ^^^"\^^*^^ atrocity that Mre have noted under Alberto 
aJi<* ^^^^^ ^Lgain when Alfonso is on the throne. No 
so^^^^^ ^^V^*^« fifteenth century shed so Utti^ 
^^^^.^vcti « ^^^^ser Lodovico bas fitly coupled them together 
Ui a. »* ^^^^:^^t:ed stanza:— 
Veoi :r 

Faixi^7^-^«>»«*lo» « ^^^ ^ primo Duce, 
Cli^ ^a.e la sua cti, rincUto Borso 

I>i C4^^^^^® ^ P*^» ^ P^^ trionfo adduce 
Chl^^^^*i ^ ^^^ tenre abbino corso. 
H ^t:^^^^*^ Marte ove non veggia luce 
Bi ^!jt*^««^ ^ ^^^'^ ^« ™am al dorao. 
Sa^r^^^^^to Signer splendido ogni intento 
^ ^ilie '1 popolo suo viva contento> 



CKlaiida ^^5. 



^D^S^.Xkx.m^^^'*^^* ^' ^^' "^^^^1^ LeoneUo; and behold the 
^ »oryai bis age, renowned Borso, who aits in peace aud 

67 



DUKES AND POETS IN FEl 

On October i, 1450, Leonello died in 1 
riguardo. With his last breath he recom 
'^^^ Niccold, then a boy ^ twelve years old, to ] 
him to secore the succession to him on his 
in the meanwhile to act as father to the lad. 
Michele Savonarola has left us a curioui 
Ferrarese magnates — ^the senate, as he calls 
— gathered together in the Palazzo della R 
great piazza, to elect a new sovereign ai 
discuss the ideal form of government. One 
government of a single man is best ; a secon< 
prefer an oligarchy ; a third adheres to t 
propounded, provided that they get a true ( 
tyT^xity one that will not spurn the coimsels 
run after his own appetite. A fourth ( 
the question : Is it better to have a prince 
by succession ? Their late prince Niccold 
sons worthy of the sovereignty, and they o 
him that they are morally bound to choos 
The glorious government of Leonello has st 
Republic will be better ruled by one of his b 
any other, and, by choosing thus, both the 
sion and the elective principle will be per 
Then a renowned doctor of arts and medi 
the qualities of an ideal prince, at very cc 
pedantic length. A sixth speaker finds thei 
and formally proposes him. A seventh s] 
the motion, which is carried with acclamati 
of " Borso I Borso I " which are clamorou 

gains more triumph than aU who have invaded th( 
He win imprison Mars from the light of day and 
hands behind her back. Of this splendid Lord e^ 
be that his people may live happy.'* 

68 



"THE DUKE OF MODENA 
tfae crowd io the pia^a bdow. A deputation promptiy 
gOGs to B^Jxriguardo to infonn Borso of his election. 

Ilms, ai>I>^^«^tiy, did the grandfather of Fra Girdamo 
idealise' tbe fixst meeting of the ConncU of the Twelve Sages 
after JLeonello^s death.* If there was any pretence of an 
eleotion^it ^vi^as a mere empty form, and the people dutifully 
acckdxnedl -v^l:^^^^ was akeady an accomplished fact. Borso 
entered ir^-fco liis brother's heritage with some show of 
reluctance, x-esJ or assumed ; but he took care that Ercole 
and Sigisirio«n.<3lo, who were still away at Naples, should 
not l>e infonrK^^sd of Leondlo's illness until his own accession 
^^i^as onsured. The Marchese Lodovico Gonzaga of Mantua, 

Leoo^Uo's l:>:r<=>ther-in-law, haxi hurried to Ferrara to see 
if jae could ci^:^ anything for his young nephew Niccold, only 
^^ find Bozr^so's position unassailable. Still both Ercole 
g^^ Niccold liad adherents in the city— known as Dia- 
nistxx*^^^^ a:nci Veleschi, respectively, from the diamond 
a»<i *^^ saxl tliat were the crests of the rival pretenders— 
an^ ^. ^^'^^I^i'^acy of the Veleschi was discovered, in the 
^^^^^iSk^cS^r"^* in consequence of which one of the Trotti 
a^^ ic o Q Clasari perished on the scaffold. 

% D^ /«/*c» ^5>^- 
xTM^ariofiy I^^t^J^S^^ssu illustnssint% Barsii Estensis ad marchionaium 
^f^x»s«' Cort ^^^^ ^ ^*«^" ^**««<**w, amiUUumque Rodigii (BibUoteca 
^^^^tUMrola, ^ • :t-at. 21 S)- Quoted in part by Scgarizzi, MichsU 

--^^tros Ceri^ ^T speakers at the meetmg are : Prandscus Mauri, 
\y^eP^ at Vl^.^'^^^s Bondenus, Kicolaus Agrippa (so at least in the 
^r^l^soltts, .^V^^^^^i^; Seganza has Niccold da Ripa), Magister 
^^io ^cre^g^^^^^^^nius Gains, and Cato Seniw. The NigrisoU and 
A.ti<y^^^^°^ V^^^V^^^^®^^ Ferrareae famihes. Fra Giovanni states that 
^^S. 'P^^^'P^^^^ie^* ^^ ^'^ ^^^® ^^ ^^ twelve Sages, caUed a meeting 
^r;^ lact tli^^^ "Wie election of Borso {Annales, coL 461) ; and from 
'^ore ^^xx^i^ '^^^^ " Angustinns VaUa Pater Patriae (vel, nt nostro 
^^r^^ ^^rt^^* Sapicntum Censor)," who undoubtedly played tbe 
^t^^ Savti^v^^^ this occaaon, is not mentioned, we may suspect 
**^^ "^^^^Cila's account is a mere hterary exerciae. 

69 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Pope Nicholas V promptly renewed the mvestiture of 
the vicariate of Ferrara to Borso and to his heirs, tinder 
a considerably reduced annual tribute. 

Borso raised Ferrara to its height of fame and glory. 
Under his rule the State assumed the aspect, acquired 
the peculiar characteristics that are reflected in the n»nance 
of Boiardo, the epic of Ariosto. In his fourth Latin eclogue 
the former poet dates the beginning of a glorious age of 
earthly blessedness from his accession, in wprds not re- 
motely suggested by the famous fourth Virgilian eclogue, 
and, in another poem of the same pastoral collection, he 
hails his pacific rule in lines of glowing fervour : — 

Salve, Estense decus, terrarum gloria, Borsi ; 
Quo dace, sideribns terras Astrea relictis 
Incolit, et prisci rursum, quo principe, mores 
Aureaque aeterni redierunt otia veris. 
Salve, Estense decus, sub quo fulgentia Martis 
Agmina et horrendo nescimus classica cantu 1 ^ 

With Borso, a new epoch begins for the House of Este. 
Hitherto, although usually styled " Marchese di Ferrara," 
the prince was, strictly speaking, only titular Marquis of 
Este, vicar in temparalibus of the Church in Ferrara, 
feudatory of the Empire in Modena, Reggio and Rovigo. 
But from 1452 dates the Duchy of Modena, which was 
destined to survive even the French Revolution, only to be 
absorbed in the new Italy of the Risorgimento. 

At the beginning of 1452, Frederick of Hapsburg, King of 
the Romans, came to Italy for his imperial coronation, 

^ " Hail, honour of Este, glory of the world, Borso ; und^^c ^w^iose 
sway Astraea has left the stars to dweU on earth ; with ^irbom as 
prince, the manners of the olden time and the golden ease ot eternal 
spring have returned. Hail, jhonour of Este, under whom we 
know not the flashing ranks of Mars, and the fearful music of the 
battle-trumpets I " (Pastoralia, vi. 65-70). 

70 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

with bis l^^'Oti'w. I^^ke Albert of Austria, his nephew, 
Kizig ladisla-Tis o* Hungary and Bohemia, and a train of 
some tvirel-v« hundred horsemen. At the passage of the 
A.<lige he tfotind Borso waiting for him, with a number of 
the minor pjotentates of central Italy and a goodly com- 
patny oi Ferrarese nobles. Borso presented the monarch 
■viritb. a rc^ral gift of horses and falcons, and brought him 
from Rovi^o o'ver a long bridge of ships to Ferrara, where 
for tea days he kept him and his train in a succession of 
festivities slucI sumptuous entertainments, extorting a 
sort of promise from him that lie would consider the 
ma.tter of the <3uchy on his retam. The fact was that the 
Oermans had not yet acquired the easy morality of Italy, 
and the Caesar elect had some scruples about thus elevating 
a bastaid to the rank of a Duke of the Empire. 

These scnij>Xes, however, were banished by Borso's 
'«*'^*****^ P^'^^O'iality, his universal popularity and the 
fav^^he^enjoyed with the Court of Rome; and, when 

^^-ted^fte^*^*^^ ^'^^ ^ coronation in May, he formally 
"^^ j^*I*«rial fiefs of Modena and Reggio into a 

*****^o the -1;^^^^^°" ^*^' ^^^^' ^^^ ^^ ^*^ " *^« 
^^the o Jr**^P*^ ''"**^ hinaself in full imperial robes, 

"^A and^^^ °* **^* ^°^y ^^''^ Empire upon his 
**^C!«ador '^°™*^®** ty ^ »o^les and attended by the 
^ ^oa '^^ ^^ ^*^^^ powers, solemnly enthroned 
^^^'^was it: ^^* platform erected in the piazza. So 
^ * all thJ^ "°^^' *^* "^^^ °°* «>nly the square, 
^^\ ^e p!.*^^* °* ^^ ^*^**^' '""^ episcopal palace 
^ ^ ur^'''^ ^^^ ^^**''^' *^**' ^^^^ Savonarola 
^^/«dedci ^""^^^ ^^^ ^''"^^ ^^«8 could be seen. 

*' ^WU^ ^^ S^^ ""^'^ ^ ^^^ ^ ^^ nmixljers. 
^w^^^ as^ovmded, and considering the richness of the attire 

71 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

of their nobles, he turned to his followers and said : ' Verily 
this is a city worthy of the Empire/ The other Gennans 
too, in the tribunes away from him, were so amazed at 
the multitude of men, at the precious dresses of gold and 
silk, that they said to each other that all Germany itself 
did not contain so many rich robes. And they wondered 
at the beauty and goodliness of the men and women, which 
showed them that those who blamed the air of Ferrara 
were in the wrong." ^ A sudden burst of music, a mingling 
of martial trumpets with the softer strains of flutes, followed 
by thundering plaudits of " Borso ! Borso ! " and " Duca 1 
Duca I " announced the advent of the hero of the day. 

Preceded by four hundred nobles on horseback, bearing 
white, red and green banners, Borso rode out of the Castello 
Vecchio ; he was dressed in red silk and doth of gold, 
covered with gems, with a pointed cap equally gorgeous 
and round his neck a collar of jewds valued at a fabulous 
sum in golden ducats. The acclamations rose higher 
and higher as he entered the piazza. The nobles, still 
mounted, formed a semicirde, out of which Borso advanced 
alone, dismounted, ascended the platform and kndt at 
Caesar's feet. There he was solemnly prodaimed Duke of 
Modena and R^gio, Count of Rovigo ; the ducal robe of 
crimson and ermine was placed over his shoulders; the 
standards of the three imperial cities and of justice, the 
naked sword and the golden sceptre were put into his hands. 
Then Borso took his seat among the princes of the Empire, 
next to the Duke of Austria, while the Emperor conferred 
the order of knighthood upon certain noble Ferrarese and 

1 De felici progr^ssu, etc., quoted by Segarizzi, op, cit. pp, 73, 74. 
The reader will not fail to notice the professional touch in Michele's 
last words. 

72 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

others, inducing the littie Niccold da Correggio, a mere 
cViiLd.,\iie Dtxke's nephew, and young Galeotto della Miran- 
<iola.. At Caesar's special coixunand, Monsignor Enea 
Silvio Piccolonvini, then Bishop of Siena, delivered an 
a-ddress in Italian, so that the people too might mider- 
ststnci, " in praise of the Estensi, and about the new dignity 
a-nd the supreme merits of Borso," as he tells us. At the 
end, the Emperor rose from his throne; at once the 
iBishop of Kerrara and his clergy, who were present in 
full pontificals, intoned the Te Deunt Laudamus, in which 
■ttxG -whole assemblage joined, and led the procession 
to th« Duomo, bearing the relics of St. George and St. 
M^a-irrelius, the patron saints and protectors of Ferrara. 
Before the high altar, the newly made Dukft took the oath 
of fidelity to the Emperor, and presented him with a rich 
collar or neckla.ce adorned with jewels, which had belonged 
to bis father ^j^j ^^^ ,^^ valued at 40,000 ducats— 
the whole cer^^^ny terminating with the benediction of 
the Bishop of ^jjg ^j^y ,.^ ^^ ambassadors who were 

present, ^t^s Enea Silvio. " commended what Caesar 
jjad done, an<^ ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^ .^ ^^ ^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 

placed- 

^% ^rn^'*^* ^^ dispatched the Caesar upon his home- 
vv&xa 5 ^ J^ to Austria, Borso made a triumphal progress 
tlxrotig ^^ ^ t>^(, ng^ly created duchies, with the leading 
,aot»leS ^ ^ ^^rrara and a thousand horsemen in his train. 

H® **^loveti^^^"P*"°'** ^^ ^^°^*y reception, such as his 
l^eairt ^^ . In each town through which he passed the 
iriJia-*^* XH)ured out to meet him with songs and flowers. 

* ^*^'FU^^»^<fen« J«/>«»'a<on«,pp.94,9s ; Prizzi.iv. pp. 20-2 v 
X>*<»«^66. *'««. *»"• ^98-200; Johannes Ferrariensis, coU. 

73 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

At Modena, triumphal chariots met him at the gate of 
the city, with St. Geminianus surrounded by angels in 
one and in another the four Cardinal Virtues " adorned 
to the likeness of Venus " ; the streets along which he rode 
were carpeted with rich cloths, while scattered before 
him were perfumes and flowers of every kind, from which a 
sweet and mingled odour rose, as in Dante*s Valley of the 
Princes. Here he stayed twelve days, in a succession of 
feasts and sports, and met his half-brother Ercole, who 
had come unexpectedly from Naples to congratulate 
him. 

Fired by the example of their neighbour and rival, the 
good people of Reggio, clergy and laity alike, rose to the 
occasion, and gave their first Duke a greeting to be ranked 
(says oiu" Fra Giovanni) " among the most rare and most 
lovely spectacles." When Borso, accompanied by young 
Ercole, approached the walls, the governor of the city 
came out to meet him with all the garrison in battle array, 
with the nobles of the district on hoi-seback bearing branches 
of olive in their hands, and the multitude shouting " Duca ! 
Duca ! ** Thousands of children were waiting for him 
at the gate, crowned with flowers, waving olive branches 
and little flags with the ducal arms, raising shrill cheers, 
as Borso and Ercole, preceded by Fdtrino Boiardo bearing 
the sword of Reggio, drew near. There was a halt at the 
gate. A great chariot appeared, elaborately designed, 
upon which San Prospero, the chief patron of the city, 
seemed to float in air surrounded by angels, while below 
him was a kind of revolving wheel in which were eight 
other angels with musical instruments, singing Borso's 
praises. One of the angels turned to the Saint, courteously 
bade him surrender the kejrs of the city and the royal 

74 



^HE DUKE OF MODENA 



sceptre wtiicS^ tie hdd, and then, Avith an elegant oration, 
solemnly deli"^*"^^ *^«ni to *^® ^^^®- Then came another 
triumphal ctia-iioti of most gorgeous aspect, drawn by con- 
ceaLLed horses send bearing an empty royal throne. Behind it 
stood Justice, with the sword and scales, attended by a 
beautiful boy, Ai^els held the canopy over her head ; 
-Regialus, Ca-to, Numa, and Cincinnatus sat at the comers 
of the chariot with angels bearing the ducal standards, 
vtrtiile armed youths rode on either side. Admonished by 
Justice's attendant genius, Boreo listened to the discourses 
of these Roman eldere and edified all beholders by his 
attentive bearing, while they assured him that he sur- 
passed Caesar in clemency, Octavianus in prudence, 
Trajan in justice, Titus in Uberality, Cato in gravity, 
Scaevola la magpnitude of soul, Antoninus in piety, and 
either aqua ed or outstripped every other famous personage 

"* ^'^ tadi^e*^^*^*^ ''^^' ^^''* ^'^^^ a car in the form 
of a. e, wixich seemed to be rowed by ten Saracens, 

^"* -orwasdJ^^^^*^ ^'^ ^^ concealed men. A fourth 

cbario ^^ 1^'*'*^ ^y artificial unicorns, Borso's own chosen 

^^*^h^tv ^*"^ ^ pahn-tree, among the branches of which 

^ritt^*^ ^^ ^*°^S torch. 

f ^«ipes' S|^ "* ^^' ^l^^ of trumpets, the music 

Kurcho* Jr^*®^' ^^ "'^^^ procession moved on to 

**'^ ^f in J ^^ ^^^^~' ""^^^ ^^ Prin<=e of the Apostles 

***"*rfront a^^^^'y'^*^ *''*' ^^els, descended from the 

^? receiv^^ P^*^^ * ^""^ ^^'^^^^ "Po« Boreo's head. 

Tl^^'oppo-itT ^ ,^^^^ '^""7f : ,^ ^o lofty pillars, 

^**^; so^"""^*^ ^' ""^^ ""f"^ ^^^^°'^* exhortation. 

sYia.*^^* ^ Pieces. As the procession swept on towards 

76 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

the cbief piazza, Caesar 2^>peaied with seven nynphs, 
representing the seven Virtaes, and Borso was exhorted 
to puisne them. The Duke dismounted and entered the 
Dnomo, **even as a spouse is bi ought to her husband" 
(so our good Minorite puts it). After praying for some 
while before the altar, he seated himself upon a throme in 
front of the church, and the pageant paraded before him 
again. Charity hailed him as the " Mirror of Christiauis/' 
the " Only Delight of wretched mortals,'* the " Worthy 
Rose of the World." San Prospero offered up de vout 
prayers to heaven for his preservation. From the top 
of the Palazzo del Capitano, three angels flew down and 
" with most sweet harmony " gave Borso a palm in sign 
of peace.* 

Peace, indeed, was to be the prevailing note of Borso's 
government. Curiously unlike his father and brother 
in many other respects, he was bent upon continuing their 
foreign policy, of keeping Ferrara free from war and making 
it a common meeting-ground, as it were, for the representa- 
tives of all the Italian powers to arrange the peace of the 
peninsula. 

A few years later, in May, 1459, Enea Silvio came again 
to Ferrara, but now as Pope Pius II, on his way to Mantua 
m that vain but heroic attempt to unite the powers of 
Christendom against the Turks, who, as he put it, had 
" taken the royal city of Constantine, slain his namesake, 

1 These pageants, which were devised by Malatesta Ariosti, are 
described in full by Johannes Ferrariensis, coll. 466-472. (I 
have not been able to consult Adolf Levi's publication, referred to 
in the GiortMle Storico della Letteratura Italiana, xx3cv.) Borso was 
delighted at the entertainment provided for him, and testified 
his satisfaction by remitting, entirely or in part, a number of 
unpopular taxes which the citizens of Reggio had paid to the 
ducal chancery. 

76 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

butchered his people, profaned the temples of the high 
*^o<l, and deWed Santa Sophia, the noble work of Justinian, 
^^th the fold rite of Mahomet.'" Borso expected great 
things from this visit; on the elevation of the Cardinal of 
Siena, to the Pontificate, he had held pubUc rejoicings, 
Gxxated in his kinship with the Holy Father (who acknow- 
ledged himself related to the Xolomei,the famUyof Borso's 
mother), and given thanks to God that a Pope had been 
elected from whom there was nothing that he covdd not 
obtain. « Nor would he have been wrong in so thinking," 
writes Pius," if he had asked for things more fit for us to 
grajnt." ' 

T ^^ ^^ ^'"''" ''^' """^ *^ ™^t the Pontifl, with the 
Lor-cas of Forli,Cesena. Rimini, Miiundola. Correggio and 

^ThoT ^'""^ ^'^^'"'^ ^ ^^^^o and seven bastards 
Strewn ^T,"'''' *'" ^**«'^<iants.' The streets were 
^nTwi^n, "^ ""** '^^^"^^^ ^th cloths, everything 
Xtnce Of "" ^1 *^ ^ *--W«d with bells.l, i^ 
with men can^,-^"^ iT^''*''' *«^« ^'^^' surrounded 
upon which ^^ ! ^orc:!,^,^ a spotless white horse. 
of Our Lord M^' "^ Sacrament, "the Body 

robed in wk.-.^' J^"^ ^^^st," Pius himself foUowing. 



Porta di San p"! 'T ^ "''*'"^ "P°" ^is head. At the 
the Pope's fo^r i"'. <iismounted, knelt and kissed 

oot. offenng up to him the keys of the city. 



» Address to 



<^o*ntneni^ .***® Congress at Matit«» r^^ 
AJbe^'^''»», ii. D. I02. ^*'**- opera, ^.go7. 



Alberto 



bastard of lLT ^^^ne, Rinaldo, half-K^^4.i. 

^' ' ■ M^ Wn dispensed from h.?*^"-"' bastards of MeUa- 
~-'^^^- Niccol6 di Uon^^^^^^^i^"^ orders and 



Estense born 

Burkhardt f 15. *** lawful wedlock-^a "ti,^^ **** ''"^ creatur 
d'Este, p. s) Relish translation, pp. 2, "^ so unnatural that even 
*^<tx unable to reaike it ' ^^^ ^^'^ **"• ^dy (fi««ftj« 



wa^ that rare creature an / 



77 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Daring the eight days that Pins stayed in Ferrara, the 
festivities were for the most part of a religious nature ; 
on the feast of the Coq)us Domini, the Pope granted a 
plenary indulgence and himself carried the Blessed Sacra- 
ment in the procession. Borso was persistent in his 
demands. He wanted the Pope to make him Duke of 
Ferrara and to remit the tribute, which meant to surrender 
all the rights that the Church claimed in the city. Pius 
answered that he could not deprive the Roman Church 
of her tribute, but offered him the duchy with the retention 
of the tribute — ^which Borso refused. "Nevertheless he 
obtained other concessions of great weight, and hoped to 
receive greater in the future.'* ^ On the Pope's departure, 
Borso gave him " a sideboard all of silver, most worthy, 
which was deemed of the value of 8,000 ducats, which his 
Holiness accepted and then gave back to the Duke, 
saying that God knew to whom it would remain after his 
death." * 

At the Congress at Mantua, Borso's orators, ** in order," 
says the Pope, " that they might seem to be doing more 
than the rest," promised in the Duke's name the huge 
sum of 300,000 gold ducats for the expedition agsiinst the 
Turks, " not without admiration of the hearers." ' But, 
on his return from the Congress in January, the Pope would 
not stop at Ferrara for more than one night. Borso met 
him on the Po near Rovigo in a Bucentaur, surrounded by 
a whole flotilla of gaily adorned smaller boats, with music 
and pageants all along the shore as they moved, so that 

* Commentarii, ii. pp. 102, 103. 

> Storia di Ferrara (apparently by Ugo Caleffini), MS. in the 
Biblioteca Nazionale of Florence, xxv. 8. 539, f. 40. 
s CommenUmiy Hi. p. 169. 

78 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

it made *' Si- "^'O'^^ous sight," as T*ius has it. On the ship 
BoTso sigrie<i the decree r^ardii^ the levying of tithes for 
the Crvisa.<3.« 5 ^^t. ^ *^e following March, he refused to let 
them be collected.^ In fact, this papal visit to Ferrara 
hsLd left lx>tli parties in a bad humour with each other, 
sLxid strained a friendship of fifteen years' standing. Al- 
though Borso presently furnished two (apparently Vene- 
tian) ships a.nd a few men to the g^eat undertaking, he was 
bitterly disappointed in Pius, while Pius, no less incensed 
against Borso, -went so far, as to threaten him with excom- 
munication . • 

Pius has left us a portrait of Boiso as he first saw him 
in the days of Leonello, when as Enea Silvio, the imperial 
secretaiy (fresh from that interview with Pope Eugenius 
I^» wiucn -Pintoricchio has recorded in the fomth fresco 
in the Library of the Duomo at ^iena), he passed through 
Ferrara in X445 on his way back to the King of the Romans. 

" ^^ mr^^^^^'" ^^ ^^^' "^°'"s*^iP Win almost as God. 
^ZJ^ r?^ ^^iidsome than words can tell, facetious and 
*" d wthoT'*'*^^'*^^ ^""^ ^ liberality, robust in his body 
^^ <JdoSxJ- ^^^ blemish."' This extraordinary beauty 
**** t and ^^*^ ^ ^^^y manhood, and in later Ufe he grew 
^rT^ almost*^^^"*^ considerably in appearance ; but to 
- re adn>- ^*^^^® honours, apparently proceeding from 
**?*^rtie cht ^^^*°''' P*^*^ ^"^ ^y ^^s courtiers and people, 
^^ . . ^*^i«ders bear ample witness. Bluff and heartv 



*^ ♦ oo^^^^' ^^"^^"^ """^ good-natured, he loved magni- 

^^'^^^id ^"^ ^^^P^^y* ""^ *^^^ *^^* were bright and 

splencu . aixci was passionately addicted to hunting and 






39- 
79 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

field-sports of all kinds. He would ride thro 

streets of Ferraxa in gorgeous robes, covered with { 

costliest jewels, dazzling the eyes of all beholders. 

was there a Lord who gave so much audience ] 

as he did every day. He always seemed laughS^ 

never let any one leave him discontented.** * His g< 

and liberality were more than imperial, and becam< 

bial in Italy : " Whoso would find Heaven open, 

experience the liberality of Duke Borso.'** H; 

factions to the Church were most lavish, and th^^ 

Carthusian monastery of San Cristoforo, that he i 

recalls his name even to this day. " The Signor ha 

it so magnificent," writes Caleffini, " that it woul< 

for the Pope." Not only towards his courtii'-^ 

favourites — such men as Michele Savonarola, 

Castelli (Savonarola^s successor as chief physician ^^^ 

Court), Lodovico Casella, his privy counsellor w^lxorti v. 

called his " right eye," Teofilo Calcagnino, his ha-ndsc* ^ 

young companion — was he prodigal in gifts of laarid 

palaces ; but even his barber Pietro, his jester Scocol^^ 







" nobile, facetissimo e soavissimo buffone," and the i>^a-sa 
woman who offered him mushrooms when out h.xxnt:in 
did not go without ample rewards. "Never," w^rot^ 



buffoncy " has his Excellence left his poor Scocolet 



XIX 



tlie 






1 Ugo Caleffini, Craniche del Duca Ercole, f . 9 ; Storia dL%, ;^^ 
f. 561;. I may here state that, when referring to Cai^fi^^^^ 
Croniche del Duca Ercole I mean the Costabili manuscrip>-t ,^ "^V 
Museum, Add. MS. 22, 324), while Storia di Ferrara is "fclx^ ociJi^^' 
of the National Library at Florence, and Cronaca di Col^^^ ci*^K*^^^ 
the rhymed chronicle printed by Cappelli. -Estc 

" Luzio and Renier, Niccolo da Correggio, i. p. 208. ^^.-f 
long^ist^of Borso's donations in Ugo Caleffini, CronaccM^ ^^ *^^-^^^^ 
d'Este, pp.' 293-301 . ^^€M^^ 

80 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

Inrch in. ^LXty of his necessities.** ^ The fame of Borso's 
magnificexxl: proceedings and of his phenomenal lavishness 
passed exr^n. the bounds of Eiarope ; eastern potentates 
sent eiabsLSsies and offerings to liim, under the impression 
tliat lie v^sLS the sovereign of all Italy. 

It is maxiifest that this magnificence bordered on pro- 
digality, 3jnd the ducal benefactions were too frequently 
l>estowed xtpoTi unworthy recipients. A number of corrupt 
suid avaricious ofi&cials simply preyed upon the people, 
ajad remained as an evil legacy to Borso's successor. Even 
in Borso's lifetime, Michele Savonarola satirized the manners 
of the Conrt: in his De Nupiiis BaUibecco et Serrabocca, 
stating plainly that " the giving of robes, horses, possessions 
ana money to buffoons and imworthy men, diminishes 
the love of the people.'* ^ The Dnke coupled his lavishness 
^' ^^^^ '^S ^th an unbending severity in punishing, 

^^-^^lati*^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ former. The goods of 
^"^ ^th^ ^fifenders— such as tha.t Uguccione dalla Badia, 
^^^eflJcd a ^^^ secretaries, who in 1460, for not having 
^-^asaca^'^^^^P"^^^ ^"^^ ^^ ^^ ^^* take seriously, 
end ij^^^iedby theDuke himself into Castel Vecchio 

favourites ^J^*'"""^"'! confiscated and given to the 
^ame ^^^ ^^''*^' whereby many from servants have 

ce show^*^^'^''' " ""^ ^"^ '^^'''" offenders, he never 
"^^Tbe Du?^ ^^^^y ^"^ "" *'^* throughout his reign.» 

+emal^^ ^^ ^ ^^^^ administrator and, with all this 
^^^ ^^Snificence, knew how to keep his lavishness 

^.j JS,^!^^ ?,^ffr^ ^^« ^^' ^^ Perrara, in the Bivista 

*_•« ^, PP^Hi, Fra Girolamo Savonarola, n ^nc ,«i. «4- 

of ^*^?J^^I^^^xs ^ork is given. ' ^ ^°^' ^^'^ ^^^ ^^"^"^ 



81 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

within bounds. Richer than his predecessors and success^^^ 
he neverthel^s had recourse to strange iinancial metl:i<=>^^" 

Not unfrequently, professors of the Studio, paint^i^ 
to the Court, and other creditors, were not paid in mo^^y* 
but by the cession to them of debts due to the dtic^ 
tre^ury. Throughout the duchy heavy fines were extort^ ^ 
for the infringement of all kinds of petty regulations* ^^ 
the officials were instructed to "suck all the juice *' tli^y 
could out of the ducal subjects. Blasphemy was a p^^ 
offence and a great source of income to the ducal coff ^*^ 
a man being even fined for saying ** God Himself could ^* 
do this." In these cases, two-thirds went to the State ^^ 
a third to the informer. One result of this was that 
became a most lucrative calling in Ferrara.^ 

Nevertheless, Borso kept his popularity to the last^^^ 
many respects he was open and simple-hearted as a u*^ ' ^^ 
an "anima innocente," his successor called him in .szit^ 
years. In the midst of the moral corruption of his O ^ 
surrounded by the bastard kindred of his House, It ^ 

mained sincerely and devoutly religious ; almost alone a^ ^^ 
the princes of the Renaissance, his private life appe=^^<i^ 
have been pure and blameless, beyond the reach of cali-»^ X_^ 

Leonello, with the aid of the elder Guarino, had iir^wri 
Ferrara with the humanistic spirit of the Classical R 
Borso was devoid of all scholarship ; but he coni^ 
Leonello's generous patronage to scholars and men of 1» J 
rewarding with a lavish hand the dedications that*^ 
presented to him, and added what was needed to pr^ 
the soil to produce the splendid flower of the Itahan Ro: 
Epic. His very lack of scholarship stimulated vem 

^ Cf. A. Venturi, L'ArU a Fsrrara nd pmodo di Borsa 
pp. 696, 697^ 

82 




- I 



^%r.^lli 




THE DUKE OF MODENA 

litetatar-e i** ^s circle- ^® I>a3c:e knew no Latin, and his 
■wrealtiiy- f a-voarite, Teoao Calca.gnino, shared his ignorance, 
the resul-t ■t>«ing that those men of letters who sought their 
patronage -were compelled to adopt the sermone moda'no,tbe 
vnlgar tongue. 

" I had determined," wrote Carlo da San Gioi^o to Borso, 
a-fterthe conspiracy of the Pio of Carpi, " for the defence of 
thy glorious name, as also for the information of those that 
come aitear us, to write in Latin concerning the treason that 
ivas lately plotted against thee. But Fortune, the foe of 
ev«y virtuoTis man, hath not vouchsafed to add to thy other 
singular ornaxnents the ornament of letters, the which is the 
most excellexit that man can have. To prove this, infinite 
reasons could be alleged, inasmuch as thou canst not 
appreciate the worth and the power of Uterature; but, since 
there is no remedy for it, we will bear it, as God wills, in 
P®**^j ^^^^eii I had presented my little book to thee, I was 
^^^- ^^^ *^riously abused by my magnificent and dearest 
^°^dco ^^^"^ '^^^°' ^^ ^ '* "vv^ere calumniated, as though 
^ L ^"*'*****^ ^ enormous error in writing such a business 
*h t^a'i^ **** "* ^^^ "^^^^ speech. I pardon him, seeing 
hi '^ **°® *** ^°^ ^^^ ^"°^ "°* letters, which, 

^'"^icras ^ ^^^^'^ excellent virtues, would shine out like 
P[^ V ^*'^'**^- ^^^' wishing to do something that should 
H brotV^ ^tl-thee, my dear and only Lord, and the others 
aer th ^^^ ^^^ companions— as is my desire and duty, in 
*^^ ^ ^* ■*^liou mayest get some pleasure by reading in the 
^^^^ * ^^^ ^^** *^°'' ''°''^*^* °°* otherwise taste by 
^^^ ? ^^y lack of letters, I have rendered this little 
v^roTK ot x^j^^ ^^^ ^g vernacular, albeit there is as much 
aT""^ ^ swee^iess and suavity between one language 
aji.<\ me ot^er, as there is between a sweet and deUcate vnne 

83 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

and another, rough and unpleasant, that one is compelled 
by thirst to drink." ^ 

This writing down to poor Borso's level is delightful ; but 
other translators took a different tone. " Right humbly 
do I pray and beseech thee, my dear Lord," writes Polis- 
magna to the Duke, in a letter accompanying his version of 
Pier Candido Decembrio's Lawi* dellaCittd di Milano, '*that 
thou mayest deign, with thy wonted mansuetude, to excuse 
my ignorance with those who shall blame me, and especially 
concerning the words used in this translation. I know that 
thou art Ferrarese ; I, too, am Ferrarese ; and Ferrara, 
renowned city of Italy, has produced us, reared us, and 
brought us to our present estate ; and, therefore, I could 
not manage the language save in the Ferrarese idionci, the 
which, in my opinion, has not less elegance than any other 
Italian speech. So if thou art pleased, I think that every 
man will be satisfied." * 

The language in question is, however, something quite 
distinct from the local dialect of Ferrara. It is a variety of 
the Lombard type of vernacular, a blending, we may say, 
of Dante's courtly ideal Italian with many words and forms 
of the Ferrarese and other Emilian or Lombard dialects ; 
with various local modifications, it is the language used by 
the literary circles and by the Courts of Mantua and the 
other petty states of Northern Italy. Its highest flight is 

1 Dedicatory letter prefixed to La Congiura dei Pio coniro 
Barso d*Este, edited by A. Cappelli, pp. 377, 378. Letters is here 
used as the technical term for Latin. 

* Bertoni, La Bihlioteca Estense, p. 123. Against Cappelli and 
Venturi, Bertoni shows that this Polismagna, a Ferrarese, who 
appears to have been also a miniaturist, is not to be identified 
with Carlo da San Giorgio, who was one of Borso's chaml^erlains 
and by origin a Bolognese (op. cit., p. 55, note i). Polia magna 
also translated Decembrio*s life of Filippo Maria Visconti. 

84 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

found a. ^^^VL^^^r of a century later in the romantic poem of 
Boiardo.^ Polismagna is only one of a number of similar 
translatox-s seeking Borso's patronage ; many men of letters 
in like xna-runer presented him with translations of their own 
Latin books, or of those of their contemporaries, or of the 
classical aLxithors; some— but comparatively few — composed 
original proems in Itahan for his acceptance.* Thus " the 
succession, of Borso to Leonello ivas providential, inasmuch 
as the former succeeded in tempering the influence of 
humanism by promoting and protecting vernacular litera- 
ture; and so, while the classicism planted by Leonello 
remained and continued to flourish, the sermonetnoderno was 
also cultivated, to correspond with Borso's personal desires.** » 
And, together with this development and cultivation of 
the vemacTxUj.^ ^ sp^i^j ^^^ ^^^ fashion for the romances 
of ^3iry-^ alike in the French originals and in Italian 
translations, spread through the Ferrarese Court; the 
^^^^ ^^ *^^ Carolingian cycle, or materia di Francia, 
Idch D^^iT^ ^* *^ Arthurian cycle, or materia di Brettagna, 
^J^^j. „ ^ ^ad styled " the most beauteous fables of King 
^^^Wp \^y^^ ^^^ Candido Decexnbrio stigmatised as "in- 

eredb^leFrexxoiUes." 

This heui v^ i. 

Marcbese ISTi^^' ^ ^t ^l^ ^''' ^ ^^ ^y^ <^* ^^ 
■ the ha.^- + "^^^^ "^ ' °* LeoneUo's Court were 

*" oTOUs nt ^^ embroidering in gold upon their sleeves an 
am *^ot:to culled from some chivalrous French story ; 

* Bertom. ^^ ■' 

lAl^raxy (.CoS^" anonymous capitoU m i^,a rima in the Vatican 
^ :Faippo ?;,f^PPO"^?: "9) aad the decidedly interesting canzone 
^ etotiTv^^^^*'*'^' addressed to Borso at the end of | volume 
^ttBeom, A^' ^ ^ one msensible to the darts of love fBritisb 
^SuiA oi ^- MS. 22, 335), axe good examples. I have gi^en some 
®*^ii«v«. ^**ae, with extracts, m Appendix I. ** 

85 



^•m 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

but in the days of Borso it became a perfect passion. The 
romances, which the ducal library already possessed in good 
store, were perpetually being borrowed, in great request 
among the courtiers and ladies — those of the Arthurian 
cycle being especially favoured. In the winter evenings, in 
the warmed and brilliantly lighted halls of the gay Corte 
Vecchia, or during the long smnmer afternoons in the 
gardens of Belfiore or Belriguardo, to the sound of the 
splashing water of the marble fountains and the music of 
the birds among the laurels and myrtles, the princesses and 
their cavaliers lingered over the loves of Lancelot and 
Tristram, followed MerUn to his living tomb, or even at 
times — ^a touch of m5rsticism being inherent in the Ferrarese 
character — strove to ascend to the suprasensible heights at- 
tained by those who achieved the quest of the HolyGraal.* 
Borso himself loved these books. He had Italian versions 
of the Merlin and Lancelot richly illuminated, and we find 
him in 1460, while in his villeggiatura, sending to the library 
for a Lancelot in French with which to correct one in 
Italian.^ Thus was the ground in Ferrara prepared for the 
romance of Boiardo, the epic of Ariosto. 

Not that the classical studies promoted by Leonello were 
neglected. Little though Borso personally cared for such 
things, he fully realized that to promote culture of every 
kind tended to the glory of the sovereign. A more thorough 
organiser of the finances and richer than Leonello, he could 
afford to be no less generous than he to the University. 
The elder Guarino still remained, as high in honour and 
favour as ever, imtil his death at the ripe age of ninety, in 

/ ^ Cf. Bertoni, op, cit., cap. iv. ; Venturi, op. cit., pp. 692, 693 ; Pio 
% Rajna, Le Fonti dell* Orlando Furioso, Introduction. 
' Venturi, op. cit., p. 692. 

86 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

1460 ; li^ ^*^ behind him a large fanuly of sons, of whom 
one oi *!:»« yoimger, Battista, laa.cl inherited not a Uttle of 
ids fath.ejr*s talents. Lascaris and other Greek exiles were 
cordially -welcomed and hospitably entertained. Pier Can- 
dido Decembrio, after fishing for an invitation through 
IxKiovico Casella, came to the Court at the beginning of 
X467, and stayed on into the next reign, with a generous 
pension, -very jealous of the great fame and reputation that 
Ouarino liad left behind him, while he himself was adulated 
t>y Tito Vesp>a^iano Strozzi and young Niccold da Corr^gio— 
the latter hailing him as the greatest example of virtue and 
gloiy, the most splendid Ught of their age that God had 
granted to youth.^ And the Latin poetry that Leonello had 
loved continued to be the medium of courtly flattery— and, 
m the case of two poets, of something greater. Tito Strozzi 
*^'his " t ^"*^^ ^ °^*° ^°^^» «^d celebrating the virtues 
** • c^ '"*^'*> in the language and rh3rthms of the 13^10 and 

^!S„S**^*^ °^ Rome-though he felt the new impulse 
sufficiently -ta-k J -i xu X u 1 

" translated - * wntten in the vernacular, 

«itb consola *^ ®^^^* ^^ ornate language," may be read 
u«restiotx *^*^° ^** P™^*' ^^ *^erefore to translate at the 
^^ the^* ^ ^"**'®'' Lorenzo, and for the benefit of 
tendencies ^' ^^ ^'^"^ *** PeixBxc^' And, both 

V^tin eclo^ ^^ ^ P°«"^ '^'>''^> a book of 

i^to's fam?^^ ^^ * ''°^"™^ °* ^*^^ ^y^^' oi Messer 
^lor wa^^ nephew-the Count Matteo Maria Boiardo. 

lecttiresM.er?'"*' ""^'Tt ■ V"" "'"'^ °^ ^^59 public 
lecx wer^ given on the D»i««aCon,m«rfw, the commentary 

9 SeeTii^* ct<.,pp. 129, 130. 

87 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

but appears to have studied under Squarcione at Padua, 
where he was probably Mantegna's fellow-pupil, and perhaps 
at Venice. Returning to his native city, he succeeded 
Angdo da Siena as chief painter to the Court in 1458, and 
was continually employed by the Duke, not only in deco- 
rating his palaces with frescoes and in painting portraits 
of the most noteworthy persons of his circle, but also in 
designing tapestries, triumphal arches and the other in- 
dispensable accessories of Estensian pomp and parade. A 
powerful and accurate draughtsman, Tura is a robust and 
original artist, pecuUar and not usually attractive in his 
choice of types, vigorous in his execution, with angular and 
strongly marked folds of drapery, and with a bright scheme 
of colouring, which is singularly individual, if frequently 
hard and crude ; in his altar-pieces, he adorns the Madonna's 
throne with classical decorations, as befits a pupil of the 
learned Squarcione. Francesco del Cossa was some eight 
years the junior of Tura, and was more directly influenced 
by Pietro dei Franceschi ; a no less powerful,^ but more 
refined painter, as the comparison of his " St. Hyacinth " in 
the National Gallery with Tura's " St. Jerome " and " Ma- 
donna " in the same collection will serve to show. Borso, 
while bounteous to Tura, does not seem to have appreciated 
Cossa at his true worth. Finding himself inadequately 
remunerated, Francesco left Ferrara in 1470,^ and removed 
to Bologna, where the Bentivoglio proved more liberal and 
discerning. The churches and picture-gallery still bear 
witness to his stay in Bologna, where he died in 1480. 

1 His letter of March 25, 1470, to Borso, complaining of his 
deferred payment for the frescoes in Schif anoia, and that, although 
he has painted the three compartments towards the ante-chaznber 
by himself, he is receiving no more than the others, was published 
by A. Venturi in the Kunstfreund (Berlin, 1885, coll. 130, 131). 

90 



THE DUKE OF MODENA 

During '*^^^ ^^* **o <"■ t^ee years of Borso's life, a third 

painter a.I>I^^'^ "Poi^ tlie scene in the person of the Duke's 

balf-brotlx^s^'Baldassared'Este, sometimes called Baldassare 

of Reggio* *^° ^^ worked as a medallist. Documentary 

evidence, :r«centiy brought to light, has proved that this 

hitherto ix3.3^terious personage was undoubtedly the son of 

the MarclB-^sse Niccol6 III.i He appears to have returned 

Ijom Loixxtardy to Ferrara about the year 1469. The 

famotts series of portraits that he painted for Borso and his 

successoir Irias entirely perished, and though a " Piet4 " in a 

private collection at Ferrara is doubtfully ascribed to him, 

jt is uncertain whether we have any authentic work preserved 

to MS. iroTxi his hand, save what may be regarded as his 

^oog the frescoes of Schifanoia, where, at Borso's orders, 

j^e repamted no fewer than thirty-six heads of the Duke, 

^lucb were originally the work of Francesco del Cossa. It 

^*«ili t^?"^ *'* *^ '^^^' ^^ one of the causes that 

^Vo?hi. ; ^"'^ P"^*" *° *^« the dust of Ferrara 

^oTrngMv ^^^-^^— --tiaUyaCourtpainter; 

r^rious!Sr."r^"*^' '"^'^ ^^-- Cosimo Tura, he held 



various small offices under his 



"^^igning brothers, especially 



for some yea« *u * * x • ; *s"""g Drotners, especiauy 
, . ^ •>^^ars that of captam of one r^t *u * x d 

in which ca,v *^* the gates of Reggio, 

in v» capacity his life touched, bv «^ 1 !i 

/ cvA, oy no means pleasantly, 

» In a docn 
and publus>, t"*"* o* '4891 «iiscovered bv 0.«^i T %■.. ,, , 

%S.,?>e^^rof R^5o.^ present^ ., the Porta 

his moiS'^S^stion!^ which is adopted brS^J ''°"'"''' ^'^ 
position at ti. ^^ ^^^^^ ^®* Roberti. — ^^ 
— Beatrice tf. ^^UJ^ held by the children 



, „ (ii. p. 42)» 'that 

'^t^e utterly difierent 

— f^^<^, i^"^^^^:; "i.::: ""^r^"" ^"^ *^^ aristocratic lady- 



I* 



91 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

be added — the note of lubricity is not altogether absent, a note 
that is struck, morecrudely and with less artistic skill, in the 
whole of the upper part of the fresco for September. 

Those sections only have survived that deal with the 
months from March to September. The first three, the 
best executed and best preserved, appear to be the work 
of Francesco del Cossa : " I am Francesco del Cossa," he 
wrote to Borso, "who alone have done those three com- 
partments towards the ante-chamber." To him is also 
ascribed the most noteworthy of the subsequent scenes from 
the life of Borso. The rest are now assigned to Tura and 
his assistants.^ Doubtless, amongst those numerous figures 
that surroimd and accompany Borso, sharing in his sports 
and basking in his smiles, are portraits of all the leading 
spirits of his Court. But all the identifications that have 
been suggested are little else than more or less happy con- 
jectures, with the, perhaps solitary, exception of the hand- 
some yoimg man with a falcon on his wrist, riding on the 
Duke's right in the month of March, who is plausibly 
recognized as Teofilo Calcagnino. 

Towards the end of the series, in the portions not ascribed 
to Cossa, we begin to meet a new figure, younger and more 
sprightly than the Duke, clad like him in gold brocade, 
leading his troops and evidently drawing not a Uttle of the 
popular favour and the courtly homage to himself. His 
features in the present state of the frescoes are unrecog- 
nizable, but it is hardly stretching a point to see in him the 
coming man, the " sole hope of our nation " — the " most 
illustrious Messere, Ercole d'Este." 

1 For a fuller account of these remarkable frescoes and the dis- 
cussion as to their authorship, see Gruyer, i. pp. 423-468, ii. pp, 
575-596 ; F. Harck, Gli affreschi del palazzo di Schifanoia, trans- 
lated by Venturi (Ferrara, 1886) ; and Venturi, op, cit, pp. 722—727; 

94 



Chapter IV 

THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

T ISr the latter part of Borso's splendid and peaceful reign, 
M. a dax-lc doud b^an to loom upon the horizon— the 
grim possibility of a disputed succession and civil war, so 
^oon as the genial old despot should be in his grave. 

The I>uls:e,who was childless, at first treated his young 

neptew Niccold as though he were his own son. The 

yoTithful prince who, like his father, had studied under 

(j^anno. grew up beautiful and gallant, as weU as highly 

cratured « How he is loved by his vinde Duke Borso ! " 

"'^^rThi^^*^' ^' ^"^^ ^"^^ definitdy to look 

SrSxeE^*'''^'^*°*^^*^°^^- He had been knighted 

S^vonaroS^^^'i?. '^^'' ^^' ^ *^^ years later, Midide 

tould in^"*,'^'*'': ^*^' "°* obscurdy, that Niccold 

principles Of' ^"" "^ opportunity of putting these 

lime there ^ go^«^«"t «»to practice.* At the same 

that had IZI ' :f ^^^^,^fl^«>tial party in Ferrara 

lastly to ^''^ *T 7 ?', "^ ^'^^"' ^^ ^"°g stead- 

^ Crona "^ legitimate issue of the Marchese 

daughters'Si IS!''' •'''f *"i f *^V FUissetta and LioneUa the 
tt^-rteeni-K Borso pictured lor us by Girolamn rt^r^ *y"eiia, xji^ 

^^*^^*«y and Mr. Malice Hewl^ ^ o,?f °^** ^" **"* 
•Ac*" "^'^'^y »« ^^^^ inventions. ^ "* ^''^ own days, are 

<^*">P. 40. "****' P- 431; Segari2Zi^> 



95 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Niccold III. Borso, who was a conscientious sovl///^^ 
probably much perplexed in his mind, how to recc/ X^a^^ 
the promise that he had made to the dying Leonello witn 
the more obvious claims of Ercole ; it is even said that his 
celibacy was prompted by a desire not to add a further 
compUcation to the situation in the shape of a son of hi% 
own. " He never took a wife," writes Pope Pius II, " with 
the right excellent and Christian intention of leaving 
to the rightful heirs the sovereignty, which he had occupied 
in their stead whUe they were children." ^ 

Very pleasant reading is a series of letters written in the 
latter part of September, 1462, by Niccold, when on a visit 
to his mother's family, to Borso at Ferrara. The young 
prince is evidently enjoying himself immensely, but he is 
very anxious that his imcle should not suppose that it is \ 

tliat which has prevented him from writing. He has / 

just received at Gonzaga a letter from Borso, complaJning I 

that he has not heard from him since he left Ferrara ; but 1 

he assures the Duke in reply that the slackness of the mes- j 

sengers alone is to be blamed, not any negligence on his 
part, nor forgetfulness, " because of the good time that I 
am having here." He admits that he had not written I 

subito subitOy because he wanted first to have some taste I 

of the sport prepared for him — ^but, as a matter of fact, *. 

the letter had been sent four days ago : " Let not your 
most illustrious Lordship ever believe that change of places, i 

multipUcation of pleasures, nor any imaginable delight, ( 

could equal the satisfaction that I should have in seeing your ) 

most excellent Lordship received here, as your Excellence 1 

will learn from my other letter. This illustrious lord » is \ 

* CommefUarii^')i. p. 102. I 

' The Marquis of Mantua, Lodovico Gonzaga. j 

96 



xtr^jj ^^^ TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

J^e*-^ ^^ talks of nothing else but the Duke of Modena. 

t>ix£j^ ^y are gettii^ up many pleasures, here they are 

^^'■^'thii ^*"^ they are preparing to receive your Excellence 

fat Oft ^"* ^^^ snaring quails, although very few 

be to r^^^ **~* ^® found ; and I keep in good health, thanks 

exploi* ' " Then comes an account of a hawking 

in the s h ^'^^ previous day. And more pleasures follow 

a great b *^**^^^^* letters ; fowling and fishing excursions, 

and other? *^* *** ^"^' ^ ^^^ good take of fine pike 

and March ^^^ ' "*^^ ^^'^*^^ ' ^^^^^^s from the Marquis 

with a gr^^^^*^^ ' * P^S^ess through the State, ending up 

young prin^^*^^^ ceremonious entrance into Mantua. The 

young for h^ ^ ^'^^ho, from his letters, appears to be singularly 

delighted a.-t^ ^Lge— he was then twenty-four) is unaffectedly 

sights of i^ "•^l^e compliments paid him; after seeing all the 

^^t is to "tfc ^*^*"* *°*^ waiting over a great fishing party 

cenext i^^ lield in his honour, he will return to his Excel- 

,,,,^jijnijj^ **neanwhile Ercole, m his banishment at Naples, 
^f^^^dox^ ^^Iden opinions firom aJl by his gallant presence, 
**** Sight j^^^'^ays and his feats of chivalry. A duel which 
**^ fro, f o**" "**® ^°^^ ^^^ ^*^ Galeazzo Pandonio da 
^^**^owea.^ "•^^e love of a fair Neapolitan lady, and in which 
**^ * d a. "tW ^^® utmost magnanimity in victory, long fur- 
t^^^^ ^^^'^Xie for the poets and novelists of Ferrara ; as 
**^ iottner ^ courtesy and liberality with which he treated 

^^ ^fih "& *^^** ^^®" ^^ ^^^"' ^ ***®'" y^^' passed 

^^^ ca 2^'^'"* ^ ^ ^^^* ^**®'" *^® '^^ath of King 

^^ot^' -^x-cole considered himself slighted by the 

* ^^Itt^^*^*® "* Cappelli, op. dt., pp. 429-430. 
* ^ c ^catommiti, vi. 1 ; Boiardo, Pastoralia 
76''*° • ^3«-<ai, IstorU Ferraresi, p. 326. ' 



vj. 82— S.4> 



97 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 
bastard Ferrante or Ferdinando, who succeeded 



Neapolitan throne, and in whose name he was gov^'' ^— ^ ^^^ 



the province of Capitanata. When Jean, son of 
d'Anjou, renewed the Angevin claims upon Naples, ^ 
went over to his party, and took the field against his ^^ 
friend and companion. At the battle of Samo i 
1460, from which Ferrante fled to Naples with only 
horsemen, Ercole is said to have personally encoi 
the King face to face, and to have seized and retal^ 

portion of his royal mantle as a trophy in the att( 

make him his prisoner.^ The Angevin trimnph, hof^^ 
was but temporary ; Ferrante speedily recovered all that 
he had lost, and the Aragonese dynasty seemed once more 
firmly estabhshed upon the throne. 

At the end of 1462 Borso recalled both his brothers from 
the Regno to Ferrara. To Ercole he assigned the govern- 
ment of the duchy of Modena ; to Sigismondo that of Reggio ; 
while he kept the nephew Niccold by his own side a.t Fer- 
rara, as chief of his privy council. This move of the I>uke*s 
excited considerable satisfaction, especially among the 
Modenese and Reggians, who found themselves thus pro- * 

vided with two small Courts of their own. Franoesco di 
Princivalle Ariosti, who was an ardent partisan of Ercole, 1 

sent Borso a Latin elegy complimenting him on this ^wise *i 

division of his sovereignty, and followed it up with a letter- 
in the same language, expressing the great gratitude of 
Modena and Reggio, extolling the decision taken l>y the 
Duke as something quite divine, "having foUoA^eci that 
weighty and most praiseworthy counsel of Jetlxro^ th.e 
father-in-law of Moses." 

* Frizzi, iv. p. 33 ; Boiardo, Pastoralia, iv. 72-75, ac. Si 
Ariosto appears to refer to this combat, Orlando Furioso^ iii. 4* ^ 

98 




THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

* Ojj ^''s answer is characteristically child-like and bland. 

3^0ti ■ ^*^* well-beloved. We have received a letter from 

*o ^^^^ iatin, most worthy, el^ant and moral ; giving us 

***Os^ ««sta_n<i what great joy and gladness it has been to 

*=>ti«- ij^"^ clxacliies, great and small, that we have sent them 

***^nics^*^"*^**® brothers to govern them, and what great 

iiito j^"*^^ t>een given us by all the people ; and bringing 

fitti^gj^*** memorable example of Jethro, which very 

^^^ shaji '"*^^^^*^ enters into the matter. And about that 

the -Vfrhol^^ nothing further, save that, as you have done 

full of chaxi* ^ ^*^ ^°^^ ^^ ^*^ right worthy reasons, 

you very vesr^^ ^^^ °* ^^^ ^^^ affection, we conunend 

tions." » Cl^^ ^^"** *°'" y°^ writing and for your si^ges- 

to commit lii^jT*^ ^ T>}icai Excellence was not prepared 

It was an vT^^^*' 

tjie two clai^-^^^^^ual struggle for the next few years between 

pleasure thaj:^^ -,. ^^ts. While Niccold was more addicted to 

grasps eve:^;^'^ increasing his influence and following, Ercole 

^ccoxe- He ^^ ^Opportunity to make his own position more 

to Bor®*'' ^^'^ ^trived at once to make himself indispensable 

Kep^^^*^"~~^K^ ^ win the complete confidence of the Venetian 

Visdoitxi^"*: formidable neighbour who. by means of 

^^ed in l^^^» * k^d of exalted consul whom she main- 

adSM^i^-t^^^a to protect her commercial interests and 

l,ee9 *^ "^1:01^ ^"^^'"^ *° ^^' ^""^^^^ *^^'"«' contrived to 
\^a ^^^ >^r*^^santly close touch with Ferrarese matters. 
^e Votesvt^^ probably aheady casting envious eyes upon 
/a^oxi^ of Rovigo. 

^ Y^Yftisv^ ^"'^ "^^ ^'^"^^y ^°* "P^'^ preserving and 
43^- ^«^^ ^ Carducci, DeUe Poesie Latins di Lodovieo a.- 4^ 

\,oavB. *^ reference is, of course, to the eighteenth clipjjof 



99 



'^ r d If' ••s»'/m. 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

enjo5dng peace, he did not maintain an absolute neutrality 
in the politics of Italy. The accession of the Sforza to the 
throne of MUan, and their alliance with the Medici, had 
caused a new grouping among the great powers of the 
peninsula ; Milan, Florence and Naples now formed a triple 
alliance, which was to some extent counterbalanced by 
the rapprochement between Rome and Venice. Borso 
had much to hope and something to fear from the two 
latter powers, and his sympathies were all against the triple 
alliance. His relations with Naples and its new sovereign 
were no longer what they had been in the days of the mighty 
Alfonso. . Nor was there much love lost between the House 
of Este and these comparatively upstart Medicean rulers 
of Florence. Borso was deeply impUcated in the con- 
spiracy of the Party of the Mountain, the adherents of the 
Pitti and the Neroni, against the state — perhaps even the 
life — of Piero de' Medici in 1466. He dispatched a strong 
force of horse and foot under Ercole to Fontalba, to threaten 
the Tuscan frontier and support the conspirators. When 
the plot failed, he received Diotisalvi Neroni and Gio- 
vanni Francesco Strozzi in Ferrara, and used all his influence 
with the Doge of Venice, Cristoforo Moro, to have the 
skilful old condottiere, Bartolommeo Colleoni, put at the 
service of the exiles. To win the Doge over to his views, 
Borso went incognito to Venice in April, 1467, and, in jovial 
wise, paid him a surprise visit, whUe the Serenissimo was 
under the hands of his barber. 

War broke out before the end of the spring. The Venetian 
object was to crush the Medici, who wer6 the binding link 
in the League of Milan and Naples, that counterbalanced 
their power in Italy ; Borso and Ercole chiefly desired to 
ingratiate themselves with the Pope, by supporting his 

100 



■ J m 



? 



XHE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO \. 

j-» *^» and thereby to win the coveted ducal crown of ! , 

J ^*"*"a*a. 3artolonimeo CoUeoni, leading the Venetian '■'■ 

^^^^ ^^^s in ijis own name and not ostensibly making war as 
^^pta.in.greneral of the Republic, Ercole d' Este with Fer- 
j^ *®« horse and foot, together with the petty tyrants of '' 

j.^^^*"o. Forli and Faenza, and a number of other second- 
condottieri, advanced into the Romagna, proposing 
^^ assafl Florence by way of Faoiza, the Val di Lamone 
the Mugello. Against them were tlie united forces of 
e I>uke of Milan and King Ferrante, -who were strength- 
by the alliance of Giovanni Bentivoglio and Taddeo 
manci f r°* Imola, the whole army being under the com- 
not yet dT'^^* Federigo da Montefeltro of Urbino (who was 
generals of ^^^- ^® *^° ^^^^^ ^** best of the mercenary 
war Was a ^^^ ^^'^^ ^^ opposed to each other, but the 
of the cazni^^-^ ""^^ ^^ ^^^ affair. The chief action 
in the plai,f*^*^ ^^ ^^"g'^* ** ^ MuUnella, near Budrio, 
This is th^t *^«tween Bologna and Imola., on July 25, 1467. 

r^jular battj^ ^^**^^®'"®°* ^ ^®"^^ "'y' Machiavelli: "A - 
parties givi,^' ^^** ^*^ ^^* * ^y* without either of the 
kiUed ther^^% **y- Nevertheless, not a single man was 
certain pri^ * only there were a few horses wounded, and 
fact, ther^ ^:»iers taken on either side." x ^s a matter of 
and theotw^^^® ^^^^ hundred men killed on one side 
and woul^'^T. Bartolommeo Colleoni was forced to retire, 
valour oi:fc. ^ave suffered a complete defeat but for the 
Venetiatv r*^'c°le ^*^°' ^* ^« ^^^ <>* *^« cavalry, stayed the 

borses k5?^*' ^t ''T'*^ ^^' '"''"^^ ^'"°^« ^^d tv^o 
. ♦ anri^^<i ^**®'' *^' ^^ severely wounded in th*- 
loot, vq. >VAralked lame for the rest of his life.» Peace 

^*»is " CoUeonic War." cf . Armstrong, Lorengo de' MeMa*^ 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

proclaimed in April, 1468, mainly through Borso's diplomacy, 
and Ercole, visiting Venice, had an enthusiastic reception, 
and probably a promise of future support in his claim to the 
Ferrarese crown. 

Ariosto, in that scene of the Orlando Furioso, where 
Bradamante, the mythical ancestress of the House of Este, 
sees the long line of spirits issue from the cave of Merlin 
and present the forms of her descendants, refers to Ercole's 
heroism and the subsequent ingratitude of the Venetians : — 

Ercole or vien, ch'al suo vicin rinfaccia. 
Col pid mezzo arso e con quel debol passi, 
Come a Budrio col petto e coUa faccia 
II campo volto in fuga gli fermassi ; 
Non perchd in premio poi guerra gli faccia, 
Nd, per cacciarlo, fin nel Barco passi. 
Questo 6 il Signor, di cui non so esplicarme 
Se fia maggior la gloria o in pace o in arme.^ 

At the beginning of 1469, the Emperor Frederick III was 
again in Ferrara for a few days, on his return to Germany from 
Rome, pouring out a profusion of diplomas, creating counts, 
knights, poets-laureate and doctors, literally by the score. 
It was a highly profitable business concern, and the ankounts 
that he got back in fees quite refunded his royal and imperial 
Majesty for the costs of his journey. The Ferrarese grumbled 
sorely at the exorbitant sums of money demanded in pay- 
ment for these luxuries by the imperial chancellor, declaring 

pp. 57-71 ; Capponi, Storia della Repubhlica di Firenze, v. cap. 4 ; 
Romanin, iii. pp. 326-332 ; Frizzi, iv. pp. 61, 62. 

^ " Now Cometh Ercole, who casts in his neighbour's face, with 
his half-burnt foot and with those feeble paces, how at Budrio 
with breast and countenance he stayed for him his army turned in 
flight ; not that in reward he should then make war upon him, nor 
invade even the Barco to hunt him down. This is that Lord, of 
whom I cannot express if his glory shall be greater in peace or in 
arms." (iii. 46). 

102 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 



tli. 



^^^ **he wanted to skin the whole lot "; and, as a matter 

^*^ fact, the Emperor hurried away with a number of these 

2!f^^y created dignitaries in full cry after him to Venice. 

^^^J^ had paid down their money, but got no diplomas 

^ niake good their dearly bought titles. Among those 

"^^ decorated were three brothers of the Ariosti, to whom 

^f'^ to their descendants the title of count was given ; 

jj^^cesco di Rinaldo Ariosti, seneschal to the Duke; 

^^^^ovico, an ecclesiastic, who afterwards became arch- 

^^^^* of the Duomo ; and a third younger brother, Niccold 

^^osti, who was destined to be the father of the great 

^ . - Presumably, their titles were fully confirmed ; but 

^^old's sons do not appear to have been styled count. 

^jj *^ same year was marked by the darkest, almost the 

was^ ^h^^^^ ^vent of Borso's reign. The lordship of Carpi 

+1^^ *^y Giovanni Lodovico Pio and his brothers, 

*^"^ sons of r^^i 

mate da , ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^ Margherita d'Este (an illegiti- 

Borso anrfK* ^^ ^^ Niccold III), who were thus nephews to 
Pio ^th ^^^le; and by their cousins, Leonello di Alberto 

LeooeUo d' T5- ^^* ^^* Alberto Pio, whom we have met in 
The sons of^*^'^ literary circle) and Marco di Giberto Pio. 
iniured bv »C^^^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ve imagined themselves 
^^Tso in the matter of a projected marriage 
1 tto P' ^^^ ^^^ sisters and the Lord of Mirandola, 
Kiso ^^* *^ whom, as we have seen, the Duke had 
^^ . . ^ ^::^alf-sister, Bianca Maria, in the previous yea.r. 

Instiga P^^^^^ibly by Piero de' Medici, who was desirous 
^* ^^ +• ^ ^tlimself upon Borso for his support of the 
"Floreti tr<c>^^citiy and with some sort of understandirag 
vntto. ^^ ^H:^ of Milan, Giovanni Lodovico — " non pio sed 
xnapio, y^ Carlo da San Giorgio, who paints him as a 
^ Diario Ferrarese, coll. 217, 2i 8. 
103 



\ 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

monster of iniquity — and, perhaps, his brothers entered into 
a mysterious conspiracy against Borso. According to 
the ofi&cial Ferrarese version of the afiEair, they intended to 
murder the Duke ; but it seems more probable that the 
idea was to dethrone h^m and to bind Ercole, his successor 
according to the plan, to the party of the triple alliance. 
The King of Naples was more or less privy to their design. 
Giovanni Lodovico himself appears to have been the con- 
necting link with Florence, while his sister Marsibilia, the 
wife of Taddeo Manfredi of Imola, by means of a certain 
Andrea da Varegnana of Faenza, secured the co-opera- 
tion of the Duke of Milan. 

When the preparations had been made, Giovanni Lodo- 
vico sought an interview with Ercole at Modena, and made 
him the most magnificent promises on the part of the allied 
powers. In addition to the lordship of the three duchies, 
he was to have Ravenna, Forli and Faenza, as also the 
baton of command (with an annual provision of 50,000 
ducats) of the new League which the triple alliance was 
preparing to succour Roberto Malatesta, the bastard of the 
notorious Sigismondo Malatesta, who had died in the 
previous year, and whose lordship of Rimini was now being 
claimed by Pope Paul II as a vacant fief of the Church. 
Ercole pretended to assent, in order to get aU the evidence 
of the plot into his hands, but revealed the whole thing to 
Borso as they rode together on a hunting expedition. On 
July 17, Giovanni Lodovico came again to Ercole, as had 
been arranged, accompanied by Andrea da Varegnana 
and an agent of the Duke of Milan, bringing their credentials 
and the clauses of the treaty as he had demanded — only 
to find themselves taken in a trap, and arrested as they 
walked with him in the garden of the castle. The Milanese 

104 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

^Srent ^as released, but the other two unfortunate men 

'**'^''e brought to Ferrara by Ercole himself, bound and 

r"^*^*^de<i with troops, with their faces hidden, and the 

^^f"s of the CasteUo ringing, " as a sign of a rich booty." 

*»e other brothers were arrested in Carpi by the soldiery 

of GaJeotto della Mirandola ; the eldest, Giovanni Marco, was 

broug^it to Fenara to share Giovanni Lodovico's fate, the 

others imprisoned elsewhere. 

Giovanni Xodovico Ko and Andrea da Varegnana were 
publicly beheaded in the piazza of Fetraiu on August 12 ; 
Gxovanni Marco suffered the same doom, but secretly and 
at night xn the CasteUo, on September 15. The other 
l,rotheis.GxaiiMarsilio,GianPrincivaUe, Manfredo. Bernar- 
dino and Tommaso. were finally brought to Ferrara and 

'^*'^TL""';'^°'^^*^'^*^°Vecchio;inspiteof their 
^;*^ weTf f^J'"" ^"'^'^ ^^ protestations of imiocence. 
^% bSv^! trial and even an axxdience of theDuke. 
^10^- ti"^^*^ "'**'" "^^y ^<i -en known of the 
^b'in Box^.^ "'^' L-'^^o arxcl Marco, who were 

Sfb3vethe^' ^T' T! P^^*^'** in their resolution 

to** *^olefief; and there werp^ ^+». 

v^ho expected .„ , . ' ^^ ^^^^ «*ther greedy courtiers 

:^eir lor<fe^^J°j«nve some advantage from their disgrace. 

iarco, aod II f Carpi was made over to LeoneUo and 

«« R ^^^ possessions m Ferraj^ ,•*„ « j- • , , 

among Borso»s favourites.' ^^^ ^' ""^^^ ^"^^^ 

t A. Capp , 

Sy Carlo ^ s^^A-'^' ^- ^^- '^^ *«^i otZ ^* ^•^'"'«' 
Sowrt vera^-,^*" Giorgio, edited by Cappelli fa „,^f *^^**>'» " 

tt^^es^^'^t »tory is told by Giral^ to tt?^^ Prejudice. 

?:*repr,s^5-^n o, Pierode' Medici nofcTf STS:?^)- 

oi Naples ^^he^w^eas^^a^tontb^p KS^JeSS; 

in the victory 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Borso had sent an account of the whole affair to the 
Pope, probably representing himself as threatened in this 
way because of his fidelity to the interests of the Church. 
Paul wrote back, uiging the Duke to look to it that the 
innocent wife and children of Giovanni Lodovico should not 
suffer in goods or in person for Lodovico's crime.* Other- 
wise, the Pope and Cardinals applauded Borso's wisdom and 
prudence in the matter. But, at the Court of Naples, it 
was openly said that a great injustice was being done, and 
that Giovanni Lodovico had never plotted against Borso's 
state nor his person, nor in favour of Ercole, but simply 
desired, in understanding with the Medici, to drive out his 
cousins and adhere with Carpi to the League.^ Jacopo 
Trotti, the Ferrarese orator at Rome, exhorted his master 
to beware of Florentine poison : " I implore your Lordship 
most devoutly, for God*s sake, to guard your person more 
than you are wont, even from poisons, because the Floren- 
tines are more expert in them than any other folk that Uve. 
Take care that attention is paid even to your saddles and 
stirrups." ' 

of the Angevins at Samo. After an ineffectual attempt to com- 
promise Ercole with Borso, Ferrante corrupted " certain young 
men in the territory of Modena, who were full of daring and had 
been with Ercole in Naples/' to slay both Borso and Ercole together, 
when the latter should have given Borso into their hands. Borso 
magnanimously pardons the conspirators, reconciles them with 
Ercole, and converts the King of Naples himself. 

^ Cappelli, op. cit,, document iii. 

* Cappelli, op. cit., document vi. 

3 Cappelli, op. cit., document iv. Trotti himself had an eye 
to the main chance in the ruin of the Pio. As a broad hint he 
writes to Borso that he had told the Pope about the probable con- 
fiscation of their possessions, and added that, if he were near his 
Excellence, he too would try to get something ; " lo etiam operaria 
li miei ferazoli per haverne la parte mia " ; and that his Holiness 
had promised that he would take care that his being at Rome 

1 06 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

Such beiimg the mutual rektions of Piero de' Medici and 

Borso d Este, there is somewhat remarkable reading in the 

cons^toiy letter that the latter addressed to Lorenzo 

tJ^:\:^:: "^^ °^ ^^-'^ ^-th. this san^e 

the ^t'^-Jr If^"^' "^ '°' "^ *« --P'^ -til letters 

. iS^L^ '^^ ^^* ^^^'^ ^d sorrow of soul that 
we have conceived bvthpr^AofK ^4.u 

renewed Piero. yl fa't * ^^"^^^ * '"^ ™"* 
united continual^yTsin^,', fo^. seemg that we were 
friendshio wifhT^ ? ^^ ^°''*' benevolence and close 
^"^dfa^ef" ^T'"^' "^"^ *^« magnificent Cosimo, 
Zl<iT^^l^.-^f ti^e House of Medici, which 

from our „,ost il^us 7""' ""^ ^"^"'""^ ^^^^^ 
served, and is pr^^'"' ij^:^^^-' ^^ has been pre- 

not only th^^I^i?, ''"" ^'^ "'' **""^ — -^)' 
with your WoitaT^:? ^' ^'^ ^°"' ^° ^« ^hare 
exceUent a father wt^^K^ "^^ '°^ °^ ^ ^^^^y -^ 
and admirable virt'urc^ "f ' "^'^^ous inteUect 

^ f- our own ^" "f"^^ "^"^^ ^ ^--^er life ; but 
thatwehavesuffeS,!^,r': ''".''• '* seer^ing to us 
«-d. as was your fa^nir . ' *""" ^^ «- e^-t 
hi„,.... '''^^'^ *° "^' ^d as we were equally to 

Such, however, wa«5 tK» j- i 
It^ prince beleri^w^^''™^"^ °* *^« a^e. Each 

outwaid apnea,?' ^ *" opportunity offer itself k^ 
,h«.H ^^^^"*^^ of amity were kept up and *k ^^^« 
should not make w . f F. and they wrnt«> 

/'«»'«oiw gratis^Z^^^ '"th Trotti's diplomacy th« ^: ^rso 
^^^^r^y^T"^^ the Pope, who a few mlnth^''^^ ^^ ^ 
P'^**nt voluiite !, '^ °° ^'^ ^^'^^ (<=*• Appendix r?^ ^ote 
' Publbhed i„'^o::~'»«»t '•)• "• *«> the 

"*»«««»« Parmews.-. series i., vol. 3, p. 3J7*"^*« /i«.» ;^ 
107 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

to each other in terms not merely of courtly politeness, but 
of almost fraternal affection. But, perhaps alone among 
the sovereigns of his day, Borso was probably happier in 
doing such things graciously than in meeting plots and 
treason by counterplots and tyranny. 

In the meanwhile Ercole had taken the field again. In 
the August of this year, 1469, he led a Venetian force to 
succour the papal army under Alessandro Sforza, which 
Roberto Malatesta had hurled back discomfited from the 
walls of Rimini. His intervention had the efi[ect ivhich 
Borso and he intended, of increasing still further the debt 
of gratitude which the Pope owed to the House of Este. 

The whole Ferrarese game was now, by 1470, in Ercole's 
hands. Borso had completely turned against Niccold, 
who, according to the partisans of Ercole, had abandoned 
himself to a vicious life and proved himself incapable of 
governing ; he kept him so short of money that the unfor- 
tunate prince had to borrow a few florins to pay the musi- 
cians of the Marquis of Mantua and of the Duke of Bur- 
gundy, who had played before him, and finally deprived 
him of his place of head of the privy council, installiog £rcole 
in his stead.^ Nevertheless, Niccold still had partisans in 
Ferrara itself, and was keeping in touch with the Gonzaga 
at Mantua. 

The old Duke was fast breaking up ; but, before his death, 
he was to see his dearest hope fulfilled. He fdt that lie had 
done the Church some service, and was probably iasistent 
with the Pope that this should receive the recognition he 
desired.* As the Easter of 1471 approached, Paul II — 

^ Cappelli, Niccold di Leonello d* Este, pp. 416, 417I; JDiario 
Ferrarese, col. 226. 

« " The bearer of these presents, thy orator, hath set forth certain 
things to us faithfully in the name of thy Nobility, and all>eit thy 

108 



^ THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

tlj^^^eign pontiff after Boreo's own heart, one who loved 

ct^^^Wendid appearances of things, gorgeous ceremonies, 

^U^i^J*^ pageants, the gleaming of jewels and rich brocades^ 

X^^j^oneci tiiin to Rome, for the purpose of creating him 

i^Ui^^ ^^ X^exrara, as the Emperor had akeady made him 

-^ft ^**^^xlena and R^gio. 

^1> iti tt^ solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit had been offered 

<^eint: t^^ ^'^^omo of Fenara, Borso set out with a magmfi- 

^^orfcdo^^* i^SLving the charge of his states to Ercole, Sigis- 

^xid to aI^^ I^aldo, his brothers, to Niccold his nephew, 

r-ode two^*^^*^ Sandeo, the Judge of the Sages. With him 

^^Tarco Pi^* *^s brothers, Guron Maria and Alberto d' Este ; 

^^Ml^ lOir^^ ^ow as Lord of Carpi, Count Galeotto Pico 

"tli^ nolj/^^^la, the young Count Niccold da Correggio ; 

^^<i somes :§^^^^^t, Count Matteo Maria Boiardo of Scandiano ; 

attire. i>j^ ^^ hundred other gentlemen in sumptuous gala 

sbone in l>:i^^^^ valets wore doth of gold ; their grooms 

±lxesm, witl^ "^^deofsUver. Trumpeters and pipers followed 

every kiti^ huntsmen leading packs of splendid hounds of 

goshainrjc^ ^^^^^X)r the chase; falconers with falcons, girifakhi, 

of orient^^ ^^^ ^^^' " ^^^ ^^^ ^ ^^y^ thing " ; and a band 

^^^^^^ ^* ^^=5^eepers, dressed in doublets of brocade, were in 

a tbxfig ^;^^^^^ number of " tamed and most swift leopards, 

^^^otion ^ ^eedingly wondrous." ^ A long train of mules, 

^^erthei^^^C::^^^^ards the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Church 

i-t '^'^^^ ^^^"^^^ J^^th been for a long time not unknown to us, it was, 

.j^j^c- ^t^"V/^ ^ most grateful to us to have understood from him that 

l^e ^^ Vw^ merely ijreserved but was even waxing greater with 

T a7^' 4t^r^:^ ^ow retumeth with our answer to those things that 

^^x /'''an^^^^X:>re us." (Brief of Paul II to Borso, December, 

^/i#5<m«i^«rV^tfi^ Vaticano, xxxix. 12, f. 115) 

i//«*5/nW^*^^^,- AriosH Peregrini lurisconstdH, De fortunati felidsque 
^^ ^ Ducts Borsii in Urhem Rotnam ingressus l>ieta <^ 
tm et magnanimum divum Herculem Marchionem ^^tj^e/f^ 
109 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

embraced him, not otherwise than if he had been the father * 
of that most sapient senate of Venice." All the way between \ 
the Ponte and the Porta del Popolo was lined with people, 
and the crowd was so great that it grew difficult to make 
any progress. Dignitary after dignitary appeared, to greet 
Borso as he slowly rode onwards, and to join in his triimiph : 
Costanzo Sforza, the commander of the papal troops ; the 
ambassadors of all the foreign powers ; the Roman Senator 
in gold brocade, " as though to a triumphal Emperor of old," j 
with a hundred " consular patricians " ; the households i 
of the Cardinals and of Pope Paul himself. By this time, v 
there were some eight thousand persons following the ducal 
pageant ; but Messer Francesco remarks with delighted 
wonder that, in spite of all the vast number of illustrious 
personages, " not even one in the least intruded or was 
merged into the right goodly order of our most beauteous 
procession, as though it would have been a sacrilege to 
interrupt with diverse persons so admirable a company 
of the splendour of princes, the preserver of peace, our 
divine Prince." ^ 

At the Porta del Popolo seventeen cardinals were waiting, 
headed by the Cardinal Battista Zeno, nephew to the Pope, 
and the Cardinal of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga. At the 
sight of these princes of the Church, all the tnunpeters and 
musicians of the ducal train sounded a blast of exultant 
music. Scattering silver on all sides, Borso rode through 
the streets of the Eternal City, flowers showering down 
upon him from windows, platforms, balconies and roofe, 
all, high and low, welcoming the Duke " as father, as most 
worthy prince ; nay, as their own most worshipful 

* De fortuncUi felicisque illustrissimi Ducts Borsii ingressus Dieta, 
ff- 39-41. 

112 




\ 




-i-^ 

N. ^ 



<: 



^ 
S 






1) 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 
Emperor." The streets were lined with freshly planted 
trees, and across them, amid festoons of flowers and greenery, 
hung medallions with the Papal arms on one side and those 
of E^te «n the other, showing now one. now the other, 
as they turned r^mid in the wind. The fountains ran 
witnwme ; everywhere were triumphal arches and music. 
It was said publicly by all the Romans that never did 
^hnnf '°^'' '"*''■ ^*° ^«>°»« ^ti» snoh great triumph 

^l^^rj *^''"'^'" A* «^« d— - of the Sacr^ 
Pato« the two cardinals. 2eno and Gon^aga, took Borso 
between them to thp p.^« « ^ ^^ 

inflamed with all^' ^' °^^* °^** P™^' ^ 
the throne fK !^ devotion, slowly moved towards 

^o^etLr^"^^ ^^^ ''^^ ™- genuflecting, 
pontifical fel^!^n Ir""*"^*" *° ^^ ^'^'^^^ ^'^^ ^^^y 
broke up in heav,, "*^''* °* *^ arrival the weather 

ExceUence left pTrr^' ""' ^* *^^* ^*^ *^«« si^<=« hi^ 

On Easter SunH 
to the dignity of Dnt f ^ ''^' ^^"^ *^ solemnly raised 
-g «f Ste i^ l'^'"^' ""^^ *^" P-^-r of dispos- 
ce^'nonywas^^,^":^^*^^---^ ^^ -hose. The 
«^ honour ^d to? ^t ''^"'^ ^^^"^^ manifestation 
«^^ Po^'P and Z^' °" r* t' *^" ^-P«' with all 

"» We chief actors— old men Hr^i 
»Caleffini... .. ' broken down 






Anosti in the a^ ° described in every detail h » 
ChigianMS. alre^ • °* *^ ^° le"«^ *<> Ercole d' » f^ancesco 
*» l^ secretarv 7??" *^'*^>' ^'''i ^y Borso himself in \.,^ ^^^ «»« 
fi*ediaac<^l^^'°\^nni di Compagno, dated Apra i% ,"« better 
^- 4»-7. The + r''^" ^°^ *° Calefani's CrowtcA* <fe/ /i '^^ ' ' pre- 
^d better than^ ** *>* ^"'^ " ^^'^ ^"^^^^ Museum M^".^"^^'. 
WgJ-rtarto Giovanni di Compagno. P^^J^ ***" -Borso 
113 ^'^' '869> 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA, 







/ 



in health and walking already in the shadow of 
— entered into the spirit of the pageantry with a 
mystical enthusiasm. " We refer all this our exal 
wrote the Duke, " to the most high God, to whom 
with all submission and reverence, that, since it f^ 
pleased His Majesty by means of him who holds H:-^^ 
on earth. He may confirm this honour of ours in ^^^ 
and that it may be a blessing for us and for all our ^^ 
and peoples." 

Robed in a long gown of crimson cloth of gold 
carried the train of the Pope's cope in the m; 
procession to the Basilica of San Pietro. Before Mass, 
while the papal choir sang the offices, the Pope duk>be& 
Borso a knight of St. Peter and gave the blessed sword into 
his hands. The Despot of the Morea girded it on. to tlie 
Duke*s side, while the two generals of the papal ^jtvx^ ^ 
Napoleone Orsini and Costanzo Sforza, buckled on tlie 
golden spurs. " Gird on the sword to thy thigh, O most 
potent one," sang the choir, " in the name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ ; but remember that the Saints conquered kdivgdoms 
not by the sword, but by faith." Then, while thie strains 
of the Kyrie Eleison rose in petition from the clxoristers, 
the Pope approached the altar for the Mass. .After tlie 
Epistle had been said in Latin and in Greek, Borso knelt 
again before the Pope, and took the oath of fidelity^ I^ope 
and Duke then prostrated themselves together before tlie 
altar, while the Litany of the Saints was snng— -tiis 
Holiness rising in the middle to insert a novel petition of 
his own for the divine blessing upon the new ducal dignitv. 



'Mm 
f'jr 



JX: 







J,. 



I 



A much shorter letter from Borso to Giovanni di Compa^no i3 in 
Cappelli, Ugo Caleffini, etc,, pp. 307-308. 

114 



XME TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 
At the Offertoiy, Boreo first kissed the Pope's feet and 
hands and tten. preceded by two archbishops and foUowed 
by Alb^o d' Este and Teofilo Calcagnino, embraced aU 
^^ S"^^ " ^- ^* «»« Conmiunion. he received 
the Bkssed Sacrament from the Pope's hands, and gave 
hun the water at the Ablutions. Then Paul invested him 

«r^ T ""^ ^""^ dignity_a long mantle of 

cr^^ damask brocade lined with er«aine. with a long 

A c!m,^T *^^ °^ *™^e which covered the shoulders 
SveTuUt'^K? '^" ^*^ ^^' " «^t thou wouldst 
rtS^rC^^^-^^^^. and we Should 
the PooehWcJxu *^ "®^ <^ess of ours." Then 

his hands. anThl a 'r* T' *^' ^"'^"" "^^'^ "*° 
neck. The cerJZ tK ^'^'""^ ^^^'"^ ™'"** ^^ 

the "Sudari^r..^"^ "°^"^"'' *^" ^°P« «-h'^'*«i 
faithful, and atte!L f """"^ *° *^^ ^^eneration of the 

rivalled that of ^^S' "^ ^'^ '*''***"^* the Basilica. 
^-"^- AU the sJ^'^' ^'^ "-y PT^l- --ere crushed to 
corted Borso back b1 T "' '""^ ^°P-'- orders, es- 
Venezia. while tder^"^ ^h""' ^""" ^ «^« «-- 
shouts of the Rn^ *°''^^'^ ^°^ **»e acclaiminc 

't;"f ^^-"^'^ "'^"'^" «or^.wt 
'^^of^SS'rr't^' •*^'/?'' "imitating the 
"P«n him the G.^irj° ^J!^?^\^-in. to Z^r 



"Pon him the cZ T ^'^"''^ ^^- to conf. 

San Pietro ' V t ^^ ^°^' ^^"^ *"^"<^^ the M^f 
i« his fuj' .""^^^^ *^ ^^g hy the Cardinal of ^ .**' 
'^ ducal robes, sitting between the tw ^**' 
115 ** Papa^ 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

nephews, the Cardinals Zeno (of Santa Maria in Portico) 
and Marco Barbo : — 

^^ When the Mass was finished and the benediction had 
been given in the usual way, our Lord sat down and made 
a fine sermon, and a long and goodly oration, in which he 
explained to what end the Church had invented this festivity 
of the Rose, and what it signified, and how it was given to 
one most worthy prince of this world for a similitude, to 
exalt every man to the desire of eternal good things, to 
which we all who are in this life should tend, like men, 
truly elect and champions, making every resistance to the 
things that are of the devil and contrary to the will of God. 
And here, right well to the point, speaking right kindly, 
he graciously magnified greatly both us and our House, 
commemorating some excellent benefits done by our 
House for Holy Church (albeit we could have reminded 
him of others), and showing clearly how we were worthy 
of this gift of the Rose for many reasons, which we shall 
pass over, and that, as we have been good up to now, so 
should we continue even to the end, to be hereafter crowned 
in our celestial country. This prayer being ended, most 
devoutly and with great elegance and very greatly in com- 
mendation of us, the Lord Cardinal who was on the left of 
his Beatitude went down to the altar to take the Rose in 
his hand to bring it into his sight ; and at the summons we 
went to kneel at his holy feet, accompanied by the Cardinal 
of Montferrat and him of Santa Maria in Portico ; and while 
we were on our knees, his Holiness gave us the Golden Rose ; 
which, we would have thee know, has been more worthily 
adorned than it has ever been before : and all this for our 
glory.'' ^ 

1 Borso's letter to Giovanni di Compagno, MS. e»<., f , 6w. 

Il6 






. THE TRIUMPH OF DUKK BORSO 
Hi 
i'ltoB^^^oorof San Pietro, Paul once more gave the Rose 

^**^^^^*^ hands, so that the people might see ; after which, 

han^* ^y all the Cardinals and carrying the Rose in his 

pamhif ^ rode in triumph through the streets to the 

^^Cft of San Marco, tired out in body, but in a great 

"^^^f^^jntal exaltation. 

If^ fact t>^^^*l^ all this pomp, there -was a serious and 

Hqi I A^0^ ^^ ^^^^- ^® ^^P^ ^^^ conceived a great 

\A f ftx^ xenovationof the Church, and Borso seemed to 

- ^.^^iry man among the secular princes of Italy to 

^^ his^^^^* ^^ remained with his company for a month 

^^^^ ^t^oXTial City, splendidly entertained by the Pope, 

*^ 4t so gladly welcomed by the Romans that it seemed 

^^ t GoA 1^^ g^^^ *^ Rome."^ He was closeted for 

^y hours in secret consultation with the Sovereign 

^^'^^^iifi, ai^d openly expressed his hope of bringing the latter 

ck '^^ ^™ *^ Ferrara. The subject of these prolonged 

•^^ijssions excited much curiosity among the Cardinals, 

^g^S, they were generally thought to refer to the future 

^^j^jjiioning of a Council at Ferrara itself.* Soon after the 

^^^^jginning of May, Borso left Rome, travelling through the 

^^j-ritory of the Church to visit the Holy House of Loreto. 

^y^ May i8 he entered Ferrara, with Ercole — who had come 

^xx^ ^^ ^^* him— riding by his side. 

30TSO returned to his capital with the long-sought title 

^f I>iike of Ferrara and with the power of disposing of his 

^j^tracliy as he would, but utterly broken down in health. 

/^-t liis very entrance to the city, he refused the triumph 

-tl^at the people had prepared, because he felt himself unable 

\jo "b^r it. The annual race in honour of St. George had 

* Caleffini, Siona di Ferrara, f . 54 v. 

* Cf . Pastor, ii. p. 392 and document icx). 

TI7 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

been postponed for him and his Court, and was run on May 
26 ; but, on the next day, the Duke was seriously ill.* It 
was whispered that both he and the Pope, who showed 
similar s}miptoms, had been poisoned. 

While he lay, apparently on his death-bed at Belfiore, 
civil war burst out in the peaceful city of Ferrara. Ercole 
assembled the Diamanteschi in Castello Novo, the fortress 
which then commanded the southern portions of the city, 
and appealed to Venice ; Niccold occupied the Castello 
Vecchio with his Veleschi, and appealed to Mantua and 
Milan. There was a desperate battle in the streets, in 
which the followers of Ercole were the aggressors and drove 
back their adversaries with heavy loss. An envoy from 
Bologna, who, after deUvering his embassy to Borso, had 
attempted to mediate between Ercole and Niccold, was 
murdered in the streets — it was said at Ercole's instigation.^ 
The Marquis of Mantua sent his troops to the frontier, 
under the command of his son, Federigo, in support of 
Niccold, and the Duke of Milan assembled a strong force 
of horse and foot in the district of Parma ; but they were 
checked by the prompt action of the Venetians, who ad- 
vanced upon the Polesine of Rovigo, while their ships — 
two galleons and five galleys — ^appeared upon the Po and 
moved up towards Ferrara, with orders to obey Borso, if 
he Uved, and, if he died, to declare for Ercole.* 

But a sudden rallying on the part of Borso dispelled the 
tempest. Carried into Castello Vecchio from Belfiore, he 
ordered Niccold instantly to retire to Mantua, and Ercole 
to return to his government at Modena. Niccold obeyed, 

* Caleffini, op. cit,, f. 55 ; Diario Ferrarese, col. 229. 

2 Cronaca di Bologna, col. 387 {Return Italicarum Scnptores, xviii.). 

3 Cappelli, Niccold di Leonello d' Este, p. 419 ; Diario Perrarese, 
col. 229 ; Caleffini, Croniche del Duca Ercole, i. 8. 

118 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 
and left Ferrara on July 23. hastening to find the Marquis 
of Mantua aund the Duke of Milan, who were together at 
Gonzaga a^d were profuse in their promises of assistance.^ 
Ercole ma^e a show of compliance, but soon returned and 
J^"^^ ^^/t^tion for taking possession of the State. 
Jl. '^ ^'"^ *^' ^°«t ^th his last breath 

Z^-^ I "^'^ *"« ^^«» of ^^ beloved Duke 

FloLtine^' J^i"^* 5. Giovanni Stagnesio. the 
that Borso^*4^^-™*l*o Loron.o de' Medici 

would inevitably ^ ^^ ,^!^r"l' ^"^ *^* ^""'^ 
of the nobles. Z^^^ /f ^ brothers, the majority 

contado. werest^Ll "'^t ^^'^ ^^^^ ^' *^« ^'^^ ^^ 
be ineffectual ^JT . ' ^** ^^ opposition would 
All the fortresZT ^"^ P°'^^'' *** *^e Venetians. 

CasteUo Vecchio ^Tc^t^:^'' °' ^ ^^^eats, the 
armed with artillerv \lt^ ''^ "^^"^ ^^** « force and 

and not the slightltT"" ''^ ^^ enroUed every day. 

»-lf-»>n>therAlbertt;^r*'\^*^- Vecchio; his 
then hastened to info^ F 1'''^'' ^ ,**^ *^« «°d. and 
kept the news se^e'^^^^^t" ''"*^" "^^ Creole 
and sununoned the y^^ti^ ^- ^'^^^^^^ were made, 
vicinity the next V ^^^' '^*"* arrived in the 

°:*^erepr^tlt''ofT*^'^'^^^*^ «^- «-4 
of the Judge of 1 . ^^ P^P^^ ""**^'" <*e presid^rZ 

^ect him Duke. As soon as Sa«^ ^-*y^^ 

See Past^'-. ^^***^ ^» Man/ova, p. i66. 
^iocument 2. ' ^- P* 394, and Appendix II. to pres#.„+ 

^ CappeUi, op, ctt., p. 435. 
119 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

communicated the result of the meeting to him, Ercole 
vested himself in the ducal robes that the Pope had given to 
Borso, with the cap on his head, the blessed sword by his 
side, and the golden spurs at his heels, and the golden sceptre 
in his hand. Thus attired, mounted upon a white horse, 
with all the members of the House of Este, with the ducal 
household, all bearing little banners with the crest of the 
diamante upon them, attended by several thousand armed 
mercenaries, Ercole rode through the streets of Ferrara to 
the Duomo. There, before the high altar, into the hands 
of Antonio Sandeo, he solemnly swore to maintain justice 
to the people of Ferrara.^ Then, as "Duke of Ferrara, 
Modena, and Reggio, Marquis of Este, and Count of 
Rovigo," he announced, as though it had taken place that 
same day, to Lorenzo de* Medici, that Borso had died and 
that he had been chosen to succeed him. " May God have 
received his blessed and innocent soul, and placed it in 
Paradise. This our most faithful community and all the 
other peoples of our most illustrious House have unani- 
mously elected me for their prince and lord, and given me 
the sceptre of the government. For which we thank and 
magnify the eternal and glorious God." * 

Borso's state funeral took place on the 22nd. He was 
laid to rest, not with the other members of his House, but 
in his own special foimdation of the Certosa of San Cristo- 
foro. In that most restful and peaceful of Italian burial- 
grounds — at the end of one of those long, harmoniously 
silent ways between inclosed and fragrant gardens on 
either side, so characteristic of Ferrara to-day — ^the tomb 
of the " divine Borso " is still shown, while you shall seek 

* Csle&Td.CronicheMDuca Ercole, f.S; Diario Ferrarese, col. 230. 
2 Letter of August 20, 147 1. In Cappelli, op. cit., p. 436. 

120 



THE TRIUMPH OF DUKE BORSO 

elsewhere for those of the other sovereigns of his House 

in vain. 

As the new Duke, with aU his Court and a long array of 
poor "^oixriie,^ of both sexes, clad in black at his expense. 
foUow^ the body i„ procession from the CasteUo Vecchio 
down the Vxa degli Angeli. the whole way was lined with 
Tlr^^"'^"?"^"'' ""^^ '^ h"°d^«d arquebusiers and 
^Id^ k'"'-^'''^" ^°"°^«d to guard the new 
Z:^^'%rr^ *^;^-^ *^- he had of the fugi- 
the funeral omtiTin .f f °' ^^'^^^ ^* ^^' P^^^^^ 

theentra.^fte'p^eTl'"'^"^ """""^^ ^ P"^P^* ^* 
the people, uttered t. ,'"" ^'^^''^ of the Duke and 
sovereign, "t. ^ !^. °^"^°* Panegyric of the dead 

Saviour God haH^ "^^^ *^^ chronicler. " that our 
"^ had died a second time." » 

P^^i.2rSJ;:'^ft-^-f ' *• ^"^ ^'-»-« ^* ^*..ara. f. SSv 
bo^owed fron, CaleffiJ.^'' '^'' ^''^^ something 1^ ,j^„Jy ^„ 



121 



Chapter V 

UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF AU 

ERCOLE D' ESTE was two months \inder 
he ascended the ducal throne of Ferrara ai 
He was a tall man, handsome in a somewhat 
fashion, with harsh, strongly marked aquihne 1 
swarthy complexion, and with something sul 
scrutable in his expression. In his portrait 
possibly a copy after some ^lost reconstructio 
sonality by Dosso Dossi, he is in armour w 
one hand resting on a helmet, the other on 
sword, and has an air of firm and unswervii 
which the facts of his life altogether c 
admirable picture at Modena, ascribed to I 
reproduced in the present work, shows 
softened down in later years. Here he is 
in armour, wearing a black velvet bonnet 
of St. Roch, leaning one arm upon a pa 
study of an Italian despot of the Renais 
manhood Ercole had acquired a consid 
for personal valour, with whicti liis 
corresponded ; although possessed of iiiai 

^ Chronological considerations make it irr 
ever sat to Dosso Dossi. If this portrait is 
probably worked up from earlier '^materials afl 

122 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRA 

within this magnificent ducal palace, and i 
humble and abject part of it, for the sacristy of 
clemency." This, the pious courtier assures 
mitted by the Divine Providence " for the 
and instruction of her devout and pious Mes 
to give him confidence in coming into his ow 
Lady's patronage. She had been moved and 
descend into this shrine in the palace, ^^ for no 
than more securely to protect her most devote 
Lord Ercole and the right splendid city of 
all the lordly barons of the most illustrious H 
and to quiet henceforth the minds of the peo] 
easily stirred up and divided in their wills. I 
in that time not seldom did there seem fear oi 
than civil, in which would be such copious 
blood as oft doth befall in cities and kingdon 
are in doubt as to who should succeed in their 

Great confidence had the new Duke of F 
protection of his celestial Patroness — and ' 
httle likewise in the assassin's dagger and 
cup, no less than in the axe of the headsman. 

He b^an his reign by showering favours 
who had been assiduous on his behalf, or hi 
for their fidelity to Borso ; his half-brothei 
Borso's favourite, Teofilo Calcagnino, v 
honoured, the latter being made his compa 

*■ La Origine et el Sik> del novo Sacello dedicado 
reverentia de la gloriosissima Vergene, Madre de Jesu 
nostra, intra el magna e magnifica Pallaza Ducale d 
very curious treatise, which is dated April 22, 147 
dedicated to Pope Sixtus IV. Like Francesco Alios 
quoted on Borso's Roman Triumph, it is written b 
in Italian. The only existing manuscript (Bibliot 
a, w. 4, 4) is the copy presented by the author to Le 

124 



DUKES AND POETS I 

business, giving him a poisoned ds 
should lack courage to use it, a dead 
the intended victim's food. But as 
approached, on the evening of Decemt 
with violent colic seized upon the wr 
thinking that he had accidentally 
that he was d3ang, he confessed the v 
and to Federigo Gonzaga. NiccoU 
self by flight, while the treacherous C 
plice were publicly executed inthems 
Niccold d* Este at once wrote to Lo 
plaining bitterly that " Messer Ercole 
with having occupied my State by d 
but has also wickedly tried and sch< 
taken away by poison." Not to let 
all the claim to celestial favours, h 
to the intervention of God and the ] 
feast of her Immaculate Conception, ai 
to use his influence on his behalf at tl 
he fondly imagines that the questic 
with the duchy of Ferrara is being ( 
your Magnificence, by the right of f riei 
me to his most reverend Lordship, the 
in order that my cause may not be los 
any one to favour the justice of my c 
to every reasonable man. I shall 
to your Magnificence, and if ever I ha^ 
fortune, as I hope in God, you will be 
me and all my means as though they 
than if we were carnal brothers." ^ 

1 Letter of Niccold d' Este to Lorenzo de 
1 47 1, in Cappelli, Niccold di Leonello d* Este. 

126 



DUKES AND POETS IN FKRlRlj 

more thoroughly arranged, and, a little later, f 
the charge of the learned and pompous Pelleg^ni 
who must rank as one of the great Italian ] 
the early Renaissance. With the utmost liber 
treasures were placed at the disposal of the ooi 
others, and the ducal library continued to be i 
head of culture for all the State.* 

Magnificent pageants accompanied the state \risJ; 
to Venice in February, 1472, as soon as he foun 
firmly seated on the throne, and even more si 
festivities welcomed the return to Ferrara in Jui 
Duke's mother, Madonna Ricciarda, after her 
eight years of voluntary exile at Saluzzo. Her 
Rinaldo was sent to bring her from Casale di Met 
Sigismondo and Alberto welcomed her at the i 
and the Duke himself with all his Court came up 
to meet her at Vigarano. On the day of her home-c 
the law-courts and all the shops were closed ; five hi 
Ferrarese ladies waited to receive her on the river 
and with bursts of music, firing of guns, clanging of 
with a great company of Piedmontese and Far 
nobles riding together, she was brought to the ducal p 
opposite the Duomo, where, as Melissa foretells to 1 
amante, she had for all her sorrows and vicissitude 
fortune an ample ristoro. " If ever honour was 
to any person," says the Ferrarese Diarist, " think ihsLi 
Lord Duke paid it to his mother." * 

Henceforth every year on August 20, the anniVersarj' 

^ See Bertom, La Bihlioteca Estense, cap. ii. and iii. passtm. 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 241. Cf. Orlando Furioso, xiii. 67. Belfi< 
was given to her for residence, where she died in August, 14/4, S. 
was buried with her husband in S. Maria degli Angeli. 

128 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERR 

On other days the Duke gave a state banquel 
to all the chief ladies of Ferrara, '^ marriages 
young married ladies of Ferrara fit for dan( 
Diarist puts it, in the palace ; in spite of his 
Excellence himself, " robed in a gown of blj 
with ermine, with a collar round his neck worth : 
ducats," opened the ball with the wife of one 
while Sigismondo, Rinaldo, and Alberto, 
Teofilo Calcagnino, " his companion," Borso 
(first cousin to Niccold) and the rest did the 
fully. The carnival of 1473 was unusually 
it was anticipated and prolonged from tl 
of January to the end of March, in honour c 
approaching marriage. Masquerades filled 
its suburbs, night after night. Princes of 
House, nobles of the Court, private citizens v: 
other in hospitality and display, the whole 
crowned by a great masked ball in the ducal 
last day of the carnival, when all the lords 
of Este appeared in masquerade.* Even 
they managed to keep it up. On March 
bride, Maria Lucrezia of Montferrat, cam 
along the Po, was met by the Duke and rod 

The list occupies five pages, three colunins to a pag< 
Museum manuscript. Capons and cheeses, " fom 
appear to have been the most usual offerings ; but 
pheasants, partridges and other birds, even peacock 
A poor priest, the '* capellano de Santa Maria N 
white torches. A Hebrew money-lender, Salome 
with little tarts and candles. 

^ All these details from the Diario Ferrarese, co 
should be remembered that these festivities at this 
not in the Castello Vecchio,but in the present Palace c 
opposite the Duomo. There was a great banqueting 
out to the east upon the Piazza and to the north up 

130 



DUKES AND POETS IN FER 

comber of wool — ^by malversation and extortio: 
a fortime of thirty thousand ducats. One o 
married a daughter of Cammilla dalla Tavoh 
on the mother's side of Alberto and Guron( 
August, 1475, Ercole found him out. Son: 
shown him, because he was ready to betray hu 
but he was sentenced to pay an enormous fin 
and expelled from Ferrara. All his goods 
cated, and every member of his family hunte 
home. The mob was suffered to sack his I 
private citizen paid the priests of the Duomc 
bells all that day and night, and made a gr 
front of the Castello Vecchio. " Not for two ] 
had the people of Ferrara received better ne\ 
joy." The man's wife, Giovanna Ariosti, < 
Nevertheless, subsequent events showed tha 
fited but little from the lesson. Another ( 
same type, who added hypocrisy to his attj 
Frate Gughelmo, a Fiedmontese friar who hac 
confessor. He made use of his post of Rector < 
di Santa Anna, to extort money from the pa 
too, Ercole sent about his business, and put m 
life in his stead.* 

Meanwhile in Rome, the General of the 
Francesco della Rovere, had succeeded to I 
the title of Sixtus IV, a Genoese thus replaci 
upon the throne of the Fisherman. Moden 
cleared the memory of Sixtus from the foules 
that have stained his memory, at least so far a 
morality is concerned. Not so, however, fron 

^ Caleffini, Croniche del Duca Ercole^ ff, 22v 
« Caleffini, MS, cit., i. 24. 

132 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Romagna to Ercole and his heirs, and ackno^vlec 
ducal title. 

The time had come for the Duke's marriage v 
Princess Leonora of Aragon, the eldest daughter of hh 
foe> King Ferrante of Naples. As the King wa3 the 
spirit in the Triple Alliance, it will be seen that 
marriage Ercole was turning his back upon the 
polity of Borso, and running the risk of future compl 
with his formidable neighbours, Venice and Ron 
present, however, neither the Most Serene Republic i 
Sovereign Pontiff raised any objection to the matcl 

A little collection of courtly and dignified love-le 
still preserved in the Ardiivio di Stato at Modena, ^ 
by Ercole in his own hand to Leonora — iUustrissima 
tissitna mia consorU^ as he calls her, in anticipation 
coming. They are mere formal courtesies for the 
part. In one he thanks her for her letters and gi 
little gifts, " le cose gentile che La me ha tnandato ' 
another, with what seems a genuine touch of passic 
says : " One hour seems to me a thousand years befon 
Ladyship is here." ^ 

In April a noble company of gentlemen left Ferra 
bring Leonora to her bridegroom. The progress c 
bridal train up through Italy from Naples to Ferran 
one continuous trimnph. The countrymen of the I 
groom were represented by his brothers, Sigismondo 
had acted as his procurator) and Alberto d* Este, by 
eotto Pico and Marco Pio, the Lords of Mirandola 
Carpi, each of these two with twenty-four horsemen 
Borso of Corr^;gio, Matteo Maria Boiaido, Niccold 

* Archivio di Modena, Carteggio dei Principi, letters of Jan 
22, March 4, March 2y, April 10, 1473. 

134 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERl 

the two .Cardinals to the Vatican, to assist 
Mass and have an audience of the Holy Fat 
all hearts by her wisdom and her gracious 
" Tully himself," said the Cardinals, " wou] 
quence by comparison with her." Afterwards 
her back again to witness the performance o 
Susanna by a Florentine company. The ne: 
Monday, a sumptuous banquet was given in I: 
the splendour-loving Pietro Riario, in the fair 
was to vanish like a dream on her departure ; 
menu may be read at length in Corio's histor 
modem mind its most taking feature was the 
scenes set forth upon the tables in shapes of 
sized. There was the story of Atalanta, the 
Andromeda, the chariot of Ceres, the labours 
the triumph of Venus, and many other ingenioi 
the same kind — ^all, of course, accompanied by I 
in honour of the new Alcides and his divine Pa 
bride. At the end of the banquet there was a c 
sixteen great lovers, men and women, of the o] 
the fierce Centaurs rushed in to carry off the nj 
were routed and driven away by Hercules, a 
"there was the representation of Bacchus an< 
with many other most beautiful things, of very 
inestimable expense." * 

The splendid company entered Florence on thej 
June 22, having spent the previous night at San 
They rode through the Porta Romana across i 
Vecchio to the Palazzo della Signoria, where the P 
waiting for them on the Ringhiera, and an expects 

1 Corio, iii. pp. 267-275 ; C. Corvisieri, // Trionfo j 
Eleonora d*Aragona ; Pastor, ii. pp. 430-433. 

136 



DUKES AND POETS IN Fl 

festivities foUowed, with balls, toumameni 
kinds. In the ducal palace, " the Excelle 
danced, with her black hair, according to tl: 
flowing down her shoulders and a aown < 
Queen." * And the Ferrarese were not dis 
magnificent, dark queenly Duchess ; Leoi 
and virtuous as she was beautiful and ta 
Messer Lodovico : — 

De r alta stirpe d' Aragona antic: 
Non tacerd la splendida Regina, 
Di cui nd saggia si, n6 si pudica 
Veggio istoria lodar Greca o Lati 
N6 a cui Fortuna pid si mostri i 
Poi che sar^ da la Bontd. divina 
Eletta madre a partorir la bella 
Progenie, Alfonso, Ippolito e Isa 

On May i8, 1474, Leonora gave hi 
Isabella — that IsabeUa in whom we no\ 
woman of the Italian Renaissance. Sh 
Ercole's eldest child ; he had already 
daughter, Lucrezia, by a certain Lod< 
Condolmieri, bom shortly before his ao 

The Duchess had made a vow to the 

* Caleffini, MS.cit., ff. i6t;, 17 ; Diario 
" She surpasses the cherubim in beauty/' 
from his dungeon ; " never was there seen a 
she will draw me out of this castle " (Bert 
the previous year, the five captive Pio had a 
Bernardino and Tommaso were recapture 
stricter guard. They were finally released h 

« Orlando Furioso, xiii. 68. " Of the h 
Aragon shall I not fail to sing the splendi 
pure as she, see I neither Greek nor Latii 
nor one to whom Fortune shows herself 
shall be chosen by the Divine Hounty 1 
progeny, Alfonso, Ippolito, and Isa^bella.." 

138 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERK 

1452, in the very year of Borso's elevation t 
dignity, Girolamo Savonarola, the grandson c 
Michele, was now a student of medicine at 
His father Niccold— a courtier and a spendthrift 
one day in his company to assist at one of the 
entertainments in the ducal palace ; but he 
refused ever again to cross its threshold. The 
leads out from San Francesco to the shady a 
poplars, laburnum and chestnut, which line the 
walls of Ferrara, is now called the Via Savonaro] 
Via di Cistema del FoUo, and is one of the most 
deserted ways of the modem city. Seldom does 
more noisy pass up or down it than labouring 
drawing their loaded wains. San Francesco itself 
left to tell of its past glories. But in Savonaro 
the street was full of gay and courtly life, and 
the loud revelry in the Palazzo Strozzi, which hy 
the gardens of the friars of San Francesco ( 
palace now called the Palazzo Pareschi was not i 
Ercole until several years later), where the brothe 
Vespasiano and Lorenzo di Naimi Strozzi, exercised j 
hospitaUty. A little further on, another Florentin 
Diotisalvi Neroni, had built himself a palace th 
stands. But, adjoining the Palazzo Strozzi, was 1 
pretentious house of the Savonarola, opposite th 
piazza and church of San Girolamo. And here Gii 
buried himself in his Thomist theology and kept hi 
vigils, shutting his ears to the sound of revelry, U 
convinced that the time was hopelessly out of joint, 
yet, if the testimony of Fra Benedetto is to be acce 

1 In the Vulnera DiligetUis, he professes to have had the 

140 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

fuge crudelis terras, fuge litus avarum.^* * Such seemed the 
Court and city of Ercole d* Este to the future propliet 
righteousness. 

Leonora gave birth to a second daughter, to whom t:» 
name Beatrice was given, on June 29, 1475. On tlT- 
occasion " no public rejoicings were made, because thMrt 
wished that it had been a boy." « 

The year 1476 opened under favourable auspices. Po<z: 
Sixtus seemed unusually friendly. Some sixteen montj^ 
before, on the death of Lorenzo Roverella, he had appoint :* 
a young nephew of his own, Fra Bartolommeo deUa Roveti^ 
to the bishopric of Ferrara, and Ercole had received hr^ 
graciously. The Pope now sent Monsignor Luca Pasi 
Faenza, who was one of the Ferrarese agents at the Colp^^ 
of Rome, as special envoy ; on January 21, after Mass 
been sung at the high altar of the Cathedral, he prese:^ 
Ercole with a silk cap adorned with pearls, and a s 
of honour in a gold-worked sheath.^ Nor did Venice 
less cordial. On February 9, Leonora went with Sigism* g,-M^.»- 
and Rinaldo d* Este, Niccold da Correggio, Bianca • 
Mirandola, Marietta Strozzi Calcagnino (the wife of M* 
Teofilo) and others, to pay a formal visit to the Doge: 
Signoria. She returned on the 23rd, suffering a great ^-^ 
at sea on the way. The Duke went out to meet heir \ "^" 
it was noticed that, before she went up to her — ■ ^ 
ments, she visited the chapel of the Madonna of the 
and prayed before the miraculous image.* 

^ See whole letter in Villari, Savonarola, i., document 2. 

* Diario Ferrarese , col. 250. 

» Zambotto, Silva Cronicarum (Biblioteca di Ferrara, cod . - ,^^ 

* Zambotto, £.21. The chapel had just been rebuilt, ^^*^ -— 
della Mirandola at Venice had astounded the Doge and Sigti^^U 
her eloquence on behalf of her husband (Caleffini, MS. cit,, 1 ^ ^^'i^ ^^ 

142 '^- 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Paduans, under the command of Francesco and Bninoro 
da Groppo. Early in the afternoon, Niccold and his men 
arrived at the walls of the city, beneath Castd Tedaldo, 
where they were being rebuilt near the church of Santa 
Agata. Here they easily broke through, occupied one of the 
smaller gates, and pressed towards the piazza, shouting 
" Vela ! Vela 1 " All the bells of the churclies dashed out 
the alarm ; the people were aghast, and did imot realize what 
was on foot ; no one joined the invaders. TIl e captain of the 
guard of the piazza with his soldiers rushed i_nto the Duomo 
and closed the doors : " I was then with my father and 
with Messer Hieron3mio Ferrarino, a student of law and 
my companion," writes Zambotto, " at tlL.e Mass at the 
altar of Our Lady, and we saw the priest, who was sayinj^ 
the Gospd, take up the chalice and missal from the altar 
and run away without finishing the Mass.'* Shouting 
promise after promise to the people, Niccold rode round the 
piazza ; his adherents burst open the prisons, roaring 
" Vda, Vela," and then " Marco, Marco," to make men 
believe that the Venetians were with them — ^but all in vain. 
Three German students, who could not understand when told 
to shout " Vela," were done to death. Then Niccold took 
his seat as sovereign of Ferrara in front of the Palazzo deUa 
Ragione, under the impression that the people would pay 
him homage. A few of his partisans within the city de- 
clared themselves ; one of the more prominent sat down by 
his side, only to be shot dead by a crossbowman from a 
window of the Corte Vecchia. 

At the first alarm, the Duchess had caught up the new 
baby in her arms, and, with her women carrying the two 
little girls, rushed along the covered passage to the Castello 
Vecchio. Here Sigismondo had raised the bridges and held 

144 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

a bastard of the House. Niccold himself escaped into the 
country, was found hiding in a swamp, and brought back to 
Ferrara the same evening. > 

The next day the Duke returned to Ferrara. The dead f 
were still Ijang in heaps about the streets and squares ; the 
three castles were filled with prisoners. " Messer Sigis- 
mondo and Messer Rinaldo da Este, his brothers, went to 
meet him," writes Zambotto, who was present, "with all 
the nobles of the city ; and, when he arrived at the piazza, 
and heard all the people crying diamante^ diamante^ Ercole, 
EfcolCy and saw his wife and children at the balcony of the 
G>urt, all weeping with gladness, he could not contain him- 
self, but began to weep too for joy at the fidelity of the people. 
And straightway he dismoimted and entered into the Duomo, 
and went to the high altar to thank God, who hath liberated 
him from very great peril of his life and of his State." * 

Two days of thanksgiving and popular rejoicings 
followed, and then the work of vengeance began. On Sep- 
tember 3, the condottieri and eighteen others were hanged 
from the balcony and windows of the Palazzo deUa Ragione, 
and five more from the battlements of the Castello Vecchio. 
During the night that followed, Niccold was privately 
beheaded in the cortile of the Castello. On the following 
morning it was proclaimed on the part of the Duke that all 
the nobles, doctors, officials and citizens of Ferrara should 
go to pay honour to the body of Messer Niccold d'Este to 
the tomb. The head had been sewn on to the trunk ; the 
body was arrayed in a long robe of gold brocade, a crimson 
cap was placed upon the head and new gloves upon the 
hands ; and so it was carried out of Castello Vecchio by 
the knights of the city, and then successively by the doctors 
1 Zambotto, f. 281;. 
146 



y 



UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 

of law and the physicians to the church of San Francesco, 
with great pomp, attended by all the Ferrarese clergy. The 
Ambassador of Naples, the Visdomino of the Venetians, the 
Rectors of the Universities, followed as chief mourners, with 
Sdpione d' Este (a bastard of Meliaduse) representing the 
kindred of the slain man, Jacopo Trotti the Judge 
of the twdve Sages, with the magistrates, members 
of the Duke's secret council and all the gentlemen of the 
Court. "And many could not refrain from tears, and 
Madama the Duchess, who was looking on from the balcony 
of the Court with her damsels, wept bitterly." He was 
laid in the red tomb of the House of Este in San Francesco, 
where so many of his forefathers and kindred slept.* 

Azzo da Este had shared his fate, but was buried without 
any pomp or ceremony, "in his shirt all blood-stained," as 
Calefl&ni has it, in the same church. A series of hangings 
and beheadings followed. In compassion for his age, the 
deathsmen would fain have spared the Ufe of a certain Luca, 
Niccold's old cook, and on the scaffold they bade him say 
"Viva il Diamante," and be pardoned. The old man 
shouted "Viva la Vela," and died. Some two or three 
hundred men, who protested that thqr had acted in ignor- 
ance, were sentenced to lose hand or eye, but instead were 
made over to different courtiers and even to convents, to be 
put to ransom— and most of them were set free without 
payment. In November, the priest spy was brought out 

T ' ^^^^' ^^' "^^ ^- ^7 ; Zambotto, ff. 28v, 29. Niccold di 
^^ ^ ^^ was never married, but left three megitimate 
children : Gurolamo, Battista and Vincenzo (of. I. Giorgi, Fram- 
m^ d'Iconografia Estense, in the Bullettino delV Istituio Storico 
1 yl\^*A»^' ^^' ^° ^^^ years, Ercole made them a provision, and 
IsabeUa d Este, with her characteristic generosity, took them under 
her protection. See Appendix II., documents 16 and 19. 

M7 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

upon a high scaffold erected in front of the Duomo, and 
there degraded. But first " there was read a brief of the 
Pope, which committed this punishment to the Excellence 
of our Duke, and, at the end of the said brief, the Pope 
exhorted the Duke to use pity towards him and pardon him, 
according to the example of the Crucified, who pardoned 
the Jews. The priest said that, rather than he should be 
degraded, Our Lady would work a miracle ; but all the same 
he was degraded without miracles." He was taken back 
to the Castello Vecchio as a layman ; then, a few days later, 
brought out again and, after his condenmation had been 
read, hanged from a window of the Palazzo della Ragione.^ 
Alberto Masolino and Ardillaso de' Panciaticchi, Niccolo's 
chancellor and equerry, were beheaded in December. 
" They died willingly for love of their lord, and they could 
have saved themselves, if they had chosen, by confessing a 
certain thing to the Duke that he wished to know." * A 
third, Antonio di Filippo, who had influential Ferrarese 
connections, was pardoned on the scaffold. 

Then at last the Duke gave commands that the work of 
blood should cease, and that no further search should be 
made for those implicated. On Christmas Eve one of his 
judges presented him with a paper upon which was 
written a long list of nobles and gentlemen of the duchy, 
with a valuation of their estates, whom he accused of having 
been privy to Niccold*s conspiracy, urging the Duke to put 



* Zambotto, ff. 32, 32V. He states that " this priest confessed 
that Messer Niccold had determined to murder Messer Sigismondc 
and Messer Rinaldo da Este, and to take Madama Leonora our 
Duchess, with the children, and send them to a city, the name of 
which it is better to pass over in silence." Venice is apparently 
meant. 

a Caleffini, MS, cit,, f. 29. 

148 



UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 



them to death and to confiscate their goods. Ercole was 
standing by the side of a large fire. He took the paper from 
the hand of the ofl&cious judge and, without reading a 
single name, threw it into the flames. " Thus, with their 
names and their possessions which are written here, let the 
memory perish of all that they have thought, tried and done 
against me." * 

In the meanwhile, the Most Illustrious Signoria of Venice 
had sent ambassadors, Messer Paolo Morosini and Messer 
Marco Barbarigo,to congratulate Ercole upon his triumph 
and to make excuses for the presence in Niccold's attempt 
of men from Vicenza and Padua— all of which Ercole had 
received with the utmost gradousness. The ruler of 
Bologna, Giovanni II Bentivoglio, indignantly repelled the 
suggestion that he had aided Niccold with men and horses ; 
and Ercole wrote to assure him that he was most ready, if 
necessary, to write through all Italy, that every one might 
know that he held him, Bentivoglio, per suo caro e intrinseco 
amko? And on October 4, the feast of St. Francis, the 
baptism of the Uttle Alfonso— iV nostro doldssimo primo- 
gemto, a nostro puUino, as the Duke caUs him in his 
letters to his orator at Florence— had been solemnized in 
the Duomo by the Bishop of Chioggia, with the RepubUcs 
of Vemce and Florence standing god-fathers by their special 
envo3^.8 Thus was the future victor of Ravenna, the uomo 
tembile among the princes of the Cinquecento, bom into a 

p. 4^6.' ^^^^' ^^«<w«mt7», X. 3 ; Sardi, p. 288 ; CappelU, op, cU., 
e gli Es^f October 17, 1476. Dallari, Carteggio tra % Bentivoglio 

Orator in^t/^**^ ^^^ ^'^^^^^ ^ Niccol6 Bendedei, Estensian 
PfmU^.^ ,. . ^' ^^ *^« ^^ « Memorie di Storia Palria per le 
ffovxncu Modenesi e Parmensi, series I., vol. 3. 

149 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

heritage of sanguinary feud, at a moment when his own 
had been threatened in the cradle and Ferrara was still 
with his cousin's blood. Little wonder that, in after y^ 
he bettered the instruction ! 

It was, indeed, a year of plotting and bloodshed, 
months later, on the Feast of St. Stephen, the infa^^^^g^^ 
Duke of Milan — Galeazzo Maria Sforza — was stabV>^^'^_^ 
death by three noble-minded assassins in the chuX^i^^ 
San Stefano. Ercole was at Mass in the chapel 
Madonna in the Court, when the news reached Ferrar-" ^ '^ >^ 
his ambassador in Milan, Roberto Boschetti, in whos^^^^V.^ 
the Duke had breathed his last. He was prompt in. tT^^ 
ing assistance to the widowed Duchess Bona, who ^was the 
regent for her young son, the hapless Gian Galea^^o. \xl 
the following simimer, the baby prince Alfonso was s^olemnly 
betrothed to Anna Sforza, Gian Galeazzo's sister^ 
girl about a year older than himself. The three 
of the late Duke — Sforza, Lodovico il Moro 
signer Ascanio — opposed the rule of Bona*s f avouiirfe, Cecco 
Simonetta ; they were banished from Milan in tbie follow- 
ing year, and put under bounds at Naples, Pisa and I^en^ia 
They stayed for a few days at Ferrara in June on tlieir wavs 
to their places of banishment, much honoured by Ercole and 
lodged in Schifanoia, where on the first evening, as tliev sat 
at supper under the loggia, two blind poets, Giovaxini ^cssA 
Francesco, who appear to have been Florentijcxes itx vK 
Ferrarese service, sang to them. Among other things, the Di v 
entertained them with a race of leopards in the Barco 
month later, on July 14, the marriage of the t^o K k- 
Alfonso and Anna, was celebrated in the presence of ^ ,* 
ambassadors, " who were received in Ferrara witki v^^v ^ 

honour, and lodged in the Court of the mo^t iUno* ^^^ 

150 "stiaous 



^^^■^.. 





UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 



Duke Ercole, and stayed there triumphantly for many 
days."^ 

Leonora was not present at these festivities, and did not 
witness the betrothal of her baby boy. She had gone to 
Naples in May, to visit her father, and there in September, 
1477, she gave birth to a secx)nd son, Ferdinando or Ferrando, 
as his father always calls him in his letters. The Cardinal 
of San Pietro in VincoU, GiuUano della Rovere, who was then 
at Naples, stood sponsor. In her absence, Ercole had 
relations with one of the ladies of her household, Isabella 
Arduino, who in March, 1478, bore him a son, Giulio.* This 
adulterous intrigue stands quite alone in Ercole's life, and 
we have no trace, not even the faintest suggestion, of any 
subsequent act of infidelity towards his wife. Leonora 
returned to Ferrara in November, leaving Ferrando and 
Beatrice at her father's Court in charge of her sister-in-law, 
the Duchess of Calabria. In March, 1479, the third son of 
Ercole and Leonora— afterwards to be f amous as Ippolito — 
was bom. The names of these three— Ferrando, Ippolito, 
and GiuUo— were destined to be linked horribly together in 
after years, and with that of Alfonso. 

There can be no doubt that Ercole was sincerely attached 
to his wife. Profoundly reUgious (even as he himself 

r l+^v*^^ P^arese, col. 254. By the Court is always meant the 
Corte Vecchia, the present Palazzo del Municipio. But in this year, 
1477, probably in consequence of the alarm caused by Niccol6's 

w ^ H- 1^^® ^^^^ ^^ ^^^® ^^^ ^^^® ^^ ^® CasteUo Vecchio, 
h ^° ^nvenuto being the architect. The work was completed 
by uie end of December, when the Duke and Duchess took up their 
residence there. Caleffini, MS, ciL, ff . 291^, 301;. 

inis Isabella, the daughter of Niccol6 d* Arduino, married a 
certain Jacomo Mainente of Ferrara. Three months after their 
mamage this child Giulio was bom, whom the Duke acknowledged 
and brought up as his son. (Caleffini, MS. ciL, f . 32, the passage 
Demg apparently an interpolation by Giujio Mosti.) 

151 



li .'< 



Lvi I 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA ^^5^ 

gradually grew to be), heroically brave and steadfii^y^^^^^|\ | 
times of stress and danger, a tender and affectionate ^^^^^^^'^y^ 
(she treated Ercole's illegitimate daughter L^crez^^^''^^^^^^||| 
though she were her own child, and, in later years, *^^^^^^^^ ^ ^^///'^ ^ 
care for Giulio*s interests), kind and gracious to her ^^^^ 4( 10as 
and inferiors, the first Duchess of Ferrara is one of the ^ ^ ^^^ /T^ 
figures of women that ItaUan history has to show us^^^^^^.5^/ ) 
Duke, as years went on, grew more and more to re^/^^^^^^^"^ i 
her, to look to her for strength and resource at his ik^^^^ --^"^ 

It is tempting to Unger over the collection of hi'"^=^^^ ^^^ 
to her, which are still preserved in Modena. Later ^^f ^^^ 

deal with other themes ; the intrigues and perpJVs^^^^^^^^ 
the Court of Milan ; the affairs of their sons. "But evea 
those in these first years of their married life show the 
complete confidence the Duke had in her. In hisi. numerous 
absences from the capital, she is the ruler of tlie^ Sf f 
though in difficult emergencies she has to ^:^:onsuIt h 
brother-in-law, the most illustrious Messer Sigism a 
" There is no need for your Ladyship to make ^^jiy excu »'» 
Ercole writes to her once, when the Duchess h^^^ f oru/ Ar^ 
a letter from Messer Alberto Cortesi, the ^^^r-^^^j. 
at Venice, which she says she has opened by ixix'stai:e • ** ^^ 
know well that you can open all our letters attid <io' " 

think fit, for we are right well content ther^iat • r> ^ ^^ 
do well to send off those which you can dispatch '* ^^ 
us." ^ As Lent comes on, being away at ReggfQ » ^ 

her to look to the protection of the Jews in Ferrara ^^^ 
caution the preachers not to excite the popu^lg^^ . ^ 

them in their sermons : — '^^anst 

" It sometimes happens," he writes, " in Season^ i^i, 

* Letter of July i6, 1479. Archivio di Modena. r^ 
Principi. • ^^^^ggio dei 

152 



UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 

that the preachers who preach in the churches of the city 
urge and excite the people to hunt the Jews, and to make 
them go to hear the Word of God against their will, in such 
wise that, on account of what these say, they are sometimes 
attacked. Therefore, your Ladyship had better have them 
told beforehand that they must behave themselves in their 
preaching in such a way that these Jews of ours who dwell 
in our dty be not molested nor forced, by their persuasions, 
to go to hear sermons, and that they be not interfered with 
m any way through words of thehrs." ^ 

Little presents, too, from time to time, are exchanged 
between husband and wife when separated — sometimes 
rather quaintly. This same Lent, for instance, Leonora 
sends him an egg of an ostrich — ^perhaps a new acquisition 
to his menagerie in the Barco— forgetting, apparently, that 
the Duke keeps very strict rules about fasting. Ercole 
thanks her in his reply, but, because he wants her to " enjoy 
it for love of us," sends it back to her ; " and especially 
because now, as you know, we do not eat eggs, and if it were 
kept till Easter, we beUeve that it would not keep good. 
But even if we ate them at present, we had much rather 
that you should enjoy it than us." * 

Only once does the correspondence reveal a misunder- 
standmg m these years, and then, though it appears a very 

P.1- H^^i^^bruary 26, 1479. Archivio di Modena, Carieggio dei 
Pniwtpf . Ercole took a strong line in protecting the Jews through- 
^1^1 ^ ^™S ^^ carnival of 1480, a scholar from ForU 

moruily wounded a Jew, the son of the Salomone ah^ady men- 
Uoned, and was hanged in chains from a window of the Palazzo della 
K^one, to the great indignation of the people. When in October, 
Ch^^ ^^ ^"^ ^P^"^^^ ^^* ^® Ferrarese Jews had crucified a 
cnnsuan child, Ercole had the accusation fully investigated and 
proved to he false. Caleffini, MS. dt., ff. 341;., ^7, 
Pf'tTM ^^^^ ^' ^^^^' ^^^^° ^ Modena, Carieggio dei 

153 L 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 



trivial matter, the Duke thinks it of sufl&cient imp(» 
to write her a letter of remonstrance — sl charming 1^ 
its way — in his own hand : — 

" Most loving Lady mine, 

" I have been told that your Ladyship is angry 
keepers of the stable, because I have brought away 
me a palfrey of yours, without your leave. I am 
to have done anything that displeases you ; but 
never have beUeved that, for so Uttle a thing, y<^ 
have taken it ill, especially as the horse is not gooc^ 
nor for any woman that you have. This alone ( 
me, that I beUeved that I had more authority with 
I have, and that if, instead of bringing it solely iov<^ 
personal use, I had given it away, you would not fc^ 
anything but that I had done well — as you can do ^^ 
things. If you had taken, not merely a horse thsLt: is -worUi 
twenty-five florins, but anything that I have, I coiild. Ixave 
said nothing but that it was well done. However , 1 teVl you 
that the horse is here, sound, and if you want it, 
for I shall send it to you at once ; or if you wan 
that I have. I shall never think that I have 
possession with you ; because I wish all that belotigs to 
to be as much yours as it is mine. To your Ladyshio 1 
commend myself. Written with my own hand sit Medelan 
on the twelfth day of August, 1481. 

" Hercules Duke of Fie:ri^^j^ i, ^ 

Meanwhile, in the general break up of the Tfoi,- 

that foUowed the assassination of Giuliano de' M #>^,-^- . 

-^'^Aticiici in the 
Duomo of Florence on Simday, April 26, 1478, E^o 1 k 

* Archivio di Modena, Carteggio dei Principi^ 
154 





UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 

taken the field against his suzerain, Pope Sixtus, and his 
father-in-law, King Ferrante. He accepted the baton of 
command from Lorenzo de' Medici, as Captain-General of 
the League that defended Florence from the allied powers of 
Rome and Naples (led by Duke Alfonso of Calabria, Leon- 
ora's brother, and Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke, since 1474, 
of Urbino), and he invaded the Sienese territory. Suffer- 
ing from ill-health, dreading Neapolitan poison and hardly 
working in harmony with his colleague, the Marquis of 
Mantua, full of superstitious apprehensions (the sainted 
nun of his House, Beata Beatrice d' Este, had cried aloud 
from her tomb, and he himself had seen a vision while sleep- 
ing in his tent), Ercole gamed but httle honour in this war, 
and his good faith had been questioned.^ And, in fact, 
save for the diplomatists on either side, there was no honour 
to be gained. The members of the League were divided 
against themselves ; Mantuans and Ferrarese had come to 
blows in the camp, andErcole's Ufe had been endangered in 
their brawls ; Venice, disliking the Florentme choice of 
Ercole as General, had been sparing in sending men and 
money ; the Milanese contingent had been recalled to protect 
the Duchess Bona from a sudden invasion by Lodovico 
U Moro and Roberto da San Severino. Ercole himself was 
forced to hasten to Pavia to repel them ; but found that 
Bona had made peace with Lodovico— that fatal peace 
which was to cost her young son his duchy, if not his Ufe. 

Durmg Ercole's absence from the seat of war, and on 
precisely the same day as Bona's surrender, September 7, 
i479» the only really reputable faUo tC armi in the campaign 
was fought ; the Dukes of Calabria and Urbino together 
gamed a complete victory over the Florentines and their 

y^^)^^' ^'^ ^* ^'^^ J'^P'' rnini/Wo, ii. p. 36 ; Machia- 
vein, istme FtorenHne, viii 

155 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

allies, under Sigismondo d* Este and Costanzo Sforza,at 
Poggio Imperiale near Poggibonsi. This is the battle 
recorded with so much mediaeval pomp and quaint cir- 
cumstance in the fresco by Giovanni di Cristofano and 
Francesco d' Andrea in the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, 
where the Sienese are represented as pla}ang a pro- 
minent part in the storming of the camp of the League. 
It is somewhat exaggerated in Boiardo's Italian eclogues 
— in which the whole credit of the action is assigned 
to Alfonso of Calabria.^ Galeotto della Mirandola, Rodolfo 
Gonzaga (younger brother of the Marquis Federigo oi 
Mantua), and Niccold da G^rr^gio, were among the 
prisoners. 

In the meanwhile, Leonora ruled the duchy with dexterity 
and abiUty, but appears to have leaned over much upon the 
four brothers Trotti — Count Paolo Antonio, the ducal 
secretary, Jacopo, "who is always near Madama,'' 
Galeazzo and Branddigi. " They were at this time the 
chief men of Ferrara/* writes Caleffini, " and almost more 
esteemed than our Lord Duke Messer Ercole and all the 
others of the most illustrious House of Este." He implies 
that they made themselves wealthy by unlawful means.* 
The result was that the Court spUt into two factions, for 
and against the Trotti. 

A most unfortunate consequence of this war for Ercole 
— and one fated to prove disastrous in the future — ^was the 

^ "Tra tante alte vittorie una ne d tale 
Che non se amenta in terra la magiore : 
II Leon vero, e questo altro da 1* ale. 
La Vipera sublime e il sacro Ocelo 
Sconfisse insieme a Poggio Imperiale." 
Ed, ii. 50-54- Cf. Ea. X. 1 21-126; Orlando Innamorato, IL 
xxvii. 57. 

» MS. cit., f. 34. 

156 



UNDER THE SCEPTRE OF ALCIDES 

Pope's displeasure. Sixtus regarded his 9onduct as an 
act of rank rebellion in a vassal of the Church. " I know," 
wrote Battista Bendedei, one of Ercole's agents in Rome, 
" that his Holiness appears to be more wroth with your 
Excellence than with any one else, and even more than with 
the Florentines.'" In August, the Pope prepared a tre- 
mendous BuD against " that son of iniquity, Ercole of the 
Marquesses of Este, whom of late we decorated with the 
ducal title and honour, and constituted Vicar-General in 
temporal things in our dty of Ferrara and its county and 
district." In it, Ercole is declared a rebel and a perjured 
traitor ; he has merited the major excommunication with 
the forfeiture of his ducal dignity, his vicariate and all his 
fiefs ; and, with his sons and nephews, is incapable of obtain- 
ing these or similar in the future. The vicariate having thus 
come to an end, Ferrara and all its district has devolved to 
the Church. All Ercole's subjects are released from their 
aUegiance, and bidden to recognize the Pope alone as their 
unmediate Lord and Superior.* 

Hearing of what was preparing, Luca Pasi sought an 
audience of the Pope, and. prostrate at his feet, implored 
hrni not to do the Duke this shame, urging him by every 
argument he could muster not to publish the Bull. " Messer 
Luca," said his Holiness, « the Duke could have sent his 

iSrS'*?^'^*'°^'^*y^«''479. Balan,v.p.294. 
(Sixti oua^ D » '7, 1479, in Archivio Vaticano, xxxi. 62 
of «cS^5^ " ^''^ *■'"'*''). fi- =«i8-"i«'- A Similar Bull 
Galeotto Ma„^°° ^*^ deprivation against Roberto Malatesta, 
Sforia is dat»7A ' ^*°'"o M^^a degU Ordelaffi and Costanzo 
Ercole is Sd "l^V^ ^^''V*> ^'y^-iHv). The BuU against 
Althonrt n^ ^ Theiner, Codex DipiotmUicus, iii. coU. 501-503- 
prSt r? ^^y Published, it is cited by Pope Julius II as a 
to August 15, ^"^^ ^^ o* excommunication against Alfonso I 

157 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

received him on May ii. His Holiness ] 
indignation against Ercole, not so m 
entered into the League, as for his ha' 
against him. " For m5rself," he said, ' 
the honour of God is concerned." He pj 
never made this war against the Florentir 
Lorenzo de* Medici and his acconiplice 
Church and of God," and because of th< 
been done and said, which for the honoui 
been able to endure. He did not deny 
times been greatly moved to anger by th( 
he had aided Lorenzo and assailed the Pen 
He could never excuse him for having, co 
gation of his oath of fidelity, taken up 
Church, even though he had entered the 1 
ever, finally accepted his excuses, pardoni 
gave his benediction, but added a solem 
the Duke remember that the House of I 
everything to the Church, and not make £ 
another time his Excellence made a leagu 
that kind, let it always be with the stipulai 
arms against the Church. Otherwise he \^ 
evil end.* The same day the Pope informed 
League between the Church and Venice. 

Ercole had already received the notifica 
League of " the Serenity of the Doge with 
our Lord " from his ambassador in Vmce 
Cortesi, and from the beginning he realize< 
danger. He had sent, dated April 28, a m 
Battista Bendedei, informing him of the mat 

* Dispatch of Bendedei to Ercole, May n, 1480. 
295. 

160 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

that he had better do nothing in this r 
more intimate with the Pontiff and the 
Meanwhile, Ercole prudently strengi 
by arranging the marriages of his two le 
Isabella and Beatrice, to Gian France* 
son of the Marchese Federigo of Mar 
Sforza " il Moro," who was now virtual 
of Milan. At the same time the young 
was betrothed to Isabella of Aragon, di 
of Calabria and niece of Ercole's wife, 
ill^timate daughter, had been already p 
Bentivoglio, the eldest son of his friend 
Bentivoglio.* At the beginning of J 
ambassador, Zaccaria Barbaro, attempt 
to enter into the League with Venice 
the Duke declined,' and, in the follo^ 
the post of Lieutenant-General of t 
Naples, Milan and Florence, with the 
50,000 ducats of gold in time of peace a 
war.* This same summer he receivec 
Edward IV of England, who invested 
of the Garter. In September, Sigismor 
Ercole's marriage, was bom, and nam 

^ Ibid., Minute Ducali, May 15 and May ic 

> A dispensation had to be obtained fi 
marriage, because of the spiritual affinity of 
having been the godfather of Annibale. S 
The Bentivoglio were, strictly speaking, not 
simply the chief citizens of the Bolognese 
the correspondence between Ercole and ( 
always styled Magnificence — never Excellen 

' " Habiamo pocha voglia de impaciarse c 
Ercole to Giovanni Bentivoglio, June 3, 14) 
pra)rs Bentivoglio to keep this a strict secret 

* Dallari, p. 41, note. 

162 



DUKES AND POETS IN J 

greatly appraise my words. I do not ^wrr 
seek human praises, nor because I take pj 
but to show you my reason for thus kee 
country, in order that you may know that . 
because I know that I am doing a thing j 
God, and more salutary to myself and to i 
neighbours." 

Other things than preaching excited the 
Ercole just then. There was marching to and 
** daily cast of brazen cannon, and foreign m 
ments of war,'* much " post-haste and romagc 
Yet were there some few that hearkened, 
business of his Order, the young Friar was trai 
Po in a small ship towards Mantua, and a par 
were on board, gambling and blaspheming ; 
turned to them and admonished them, whe 
fell at his feet, imploring pardon. But a terribli 
war and disaster was about to burst over Ferr^ 
House of Este ; already people were leaving tl 
Studio was closing, and the convent of the Ar 
then outside the walls, was threatened. Savonai 
vincial sent him to Florence before the end of the 
he never saw Ferrara again. 

^ Letter from Pavia, January 25, 1490 (LeUere ined\ 
Girolamo Savonarola, ed. P. Vincenzo Marchese. Archii 
Ilaliano, Appendix, vol. 8, p. 1 11). 



164 



DUKES AND POETS IN 1 

cupidity of enriching himself at the expens 
the former he was urged on by Virginia 
been deprived of his fiefs of Alba and T 
Abruzri. After the peace of 1480, Girolan: 
to punish Costanzo Sforza, the Lord of Pesa 
ance to Lorenzo de' Medici, and Ercole's pro: 
instrumental in enabling Sforza to checkma 
Already master of Imola, Girolamo, after tl 
degU Ordelaffi, had occupied Forli, and he 
investiture of that papal fief from Sixtus. 
successor of Pino, Antonio Maria degli Orde 
mate son of Pino's brother Cecco, took refug 
territory, and was kindly received by Erco 
him an annual provision and left him free to gi 
Bagnacavallo, whence, with the aid of Galeoti 
Faenza, he could plot to recover his State. 

And Girolamo could safely count on winning 
second his desires. Sixtus dreaded the Aragon^ 
Naples ; he was readily convinced that, even 
had betrayed him in the matter of the separate 
Lorenzo de' Medici, so now he had betrayed him 
would desert him in the face of the Turk. He 
forgiven Ercole d' Este for having led the Florent 
late war. He was further exasperated by the fac 
Duke made much difficulty about paying the annu 
of 4,100 florins to the Papal Treasuiy, was always i 
and frequently forbade the publication of the paj 
in his dominions. Even while the forces of the Chi 
the Kingdom lay together before the walls of ( 
Girolamo had determined that the new alli^ce 
Rome and Venice should be turned to the destrui 
Aragonese rule in Naples. And he had a temptir 

166 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERlF 

in consequence excommunicated by the ^vi< 
Bartolommeo della Rovere, who was, 83 usi 
Rome. G^ntarini appealed to the Duke, ^^1: 
give redress. "Then, Excellence, I shall lea 
said the Venetian. " Your Magnificence ivill i 
open," answered Ercole. Contarini took liim 
upon which a ducal secretary was promptly se: 
to apologise. The Doge summoned the Ke 
bassador, Alberto Cortesi, to the Consiglio < 
and gave a peremptory intimation to the Duke 
revoke the excommunication and reinstate the 
to compensate him and make an example of all 
and to observe the conventions for the future. 
of Ferrara disavowed the action of his vicar, and i 
Venetians that the Pope was very much display 
excommunication, and had professed himself on 
the Republic. Ercole yielded ; the Visdomino 
furious and arrogant, threatening deadly venge* 
Jacopo Trotti and his brothers, to whom he asc 
slight that had been put upon him.^ 

These negotiations were still in progress when, h 
days of the siege of Otranto, Girolamo Riario lef\ 
magnole dominions and set out in person for Yen 
his way he visited the Duke of Urbino, who, old as 
was still reckoned the first soldier of Italy, and 
Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, who held the office of ( 
General of the Venetian army. The latter he foin 
but the Duke (who was Roberto's father-in-law, 
personal foe) indignantly rejected his overtures 
abandoning his habitual sphinx-like calm, gave free 

^ Romanin, iv. pp. 402, 403 ; Frizzi, iv. pp. 117, 118 
i. pp. 21-23. 

168 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAl 

obtain a much fuller compensation from the iv 
Neapolitan Kingdom.^ The more pradent men 
Council misliked it, and distrusted the Pope 
were overruled. It was decided to accept th 
and Girolamo, loaded with honours, returned to ¥ 
Ferrarese orator informed his master that t 
miserly conduct in giving no gratuities of any ki 
arrogant manner in accepting the honours that tt 
awarded him, had displeased everybody ; * bui 
was delighted at his nephew's reception and at i 
of the mission, and wrote an enthusiastic letter 
to the Doge, hinting not obscurely that he woul 
opportunity of showing his gratitude.* 

In October, Antonio Maria degli Ordelaffi mac 
successful attempt to surprise Forli, with the aid o 

^ Cf. Sigismondo de' Conti, i. p. 1 19 ; Piva, i. p. 53. In 
1480, Girolamo had first suggested to 2^ccaria Baxbaro 
tian orator in Rome, his plan for the expulsion of the King 
but Barbaro was told to exhort the Count to keep this 
idea to himself. In the following May, it had been run: 
Girolamo was coming to Venice, and Ercole had instruc 
to keep his eyes open ; but the Signoria, seeing that the 1 
alarmed, had persuaded him to defer his visit. See the 
cited by Piva, i. pp. 45, 48-50. The statement often ma 
bargain struck by the high contracting conspirators had fo 
the division of the dominions of the Estensi, the Veneti 
Modena and Reggio, and Riario having Ferrara itself, apj 
contradicted by the documentary evidence. The Pope 
were equally bent upon the destruction of the King of Na 
the surrender of Ferrara to Venice was probably the nop 
addition to his uncle's scheme. 

> Dispatch of September 22. Piva,i. p. 53. The Count 
on September 16. 

" Brief of September 19, 1481, in the codex of the 
Naxionale at Florence, which Pastor (ii. p. 503, note 2) 1 
must have come from the Archivio Vaiicano, See prei 
Appendix II., document 3. 

170 



DUKES AND POETS IN FI 

it promptly and at the usual time ; he m 
also about the Jews ; as to Forli, his mas 
" You can say what you like," interrupte< 
I am quite certain that your Duke is to b 
however, ready to proceed no further in th 
dition that Antonio Maria should hencefon 
to remain in the Duke's dominions.^ 

Thoroughly alarmed, Ercole (who had on 
been concerned in the affair of Forli) an 
and his accomplices, instructed Bendedei U 
faction on every point to the Pope, and eve 
self ready to hand the prisoners over to 
to be examined with torture to manifest tin 
that their lives were spared. Girolamo dec 
longer wanted them for the justification < 
convinced that he was innocent, but tha 
them in his hands, to be put to death as 
Then Ercole absolutely refused to deliver t] 
have done nothing against us," he wrote, " 
punishment. So that, since there is no nee 
for our own justification, as the Lord Count 
ledges, we must pray his Lordship to excuse 
%end them to have them executed, because 
he would not wish us to stain our honour." 
further persistence from Girolamo, Ercole d 
would suffer eternal remorse in his conscien 
surrendered the prisoners or put them to 

1 Dispatches of Battista Bendedei, November 
ber 25, 1 48 1. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio degl 
Roma. The prompt aid given by Venice to the 
in this afEair of Forli, had further cemented thi 
aUiance. See brief of November 17 to the Do 
document 4. 

172 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAR 

he will not have prevented, as he could have doi 
conflagration that we see is rising in Italy, that 
grant that it be not the ruin of this miserable It^ 
all Christendom." ^ 

At the beginning of April, Roberto da San Sevc 
had broken with Lodovico Sforza and had been 
from the Duchy of Milan, was appointed comman< 
Venetian land forces for the enterprise, with tin 
Lieutenant-General and the position which the la 
lommeo Colleoni had held. The Duke of Urbino I 
ously been appointed commander-in-chief of the 
the League — Naples, Milan and Florence — for th 
of Ferrara, Ercole's own position being that of Li 
General. The Marquis of Mantua and Giovanni B< 
were naturally on the same side. To the cause 
and the Pope adhered the Republic of Siena, the 
Savoy and the Marquis of Montferrat, the Rossi 
(who had been stirred up to rebellion against Milan 
hard pressed by the ducal troops under Gian J a 
vulzio), and (a little later) the RepubUc of Geno; 
when war actually broke out, practically the 
Italy was involved, on one side or the other. 

Hostilities began from the South. In the middle 
Duke Alfonso of Calabria marched into theStat( 
Church, and demanded a passage for his army to 
for the defence of his sister and her husband in 
simultaneously, he sent troops to occupy Marino w 
held by his allies, the Colonna. On April i8, i 
refused the passage, and in a brief to the King ord 
to withdraw his forces, lest men should say tha 

^ Minute Ducaii per Roma a BaUista Bendedei, Februar 
Archivio di Modena, he, cit 

174 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERR* ^^^^^^ 

under Roberto Malatesta — ^who was bitterly iea ^ ^ ^ 

honours conferred on Roberto da San Severiivo, i 

that, unless more respect was paid to his dignity 

General, he might not be able to take the ?i 

operate in Romagna, assailing the Ferrarese l^ 

that side and keeping the passage dosed to \ 

the Duke of Calabria. 

On May 12, all the ambassadors ot tSie "Lea. 
gether to the Pope, with a full statement oi W 
form which amounted to a declaratioxv ot ^w 
had been read to him, Sixtus said that tlie 1 
therein were worthy of the greatest oonsii 
asked for the docimient, in order better to e> 
parts of it. The ambassadors answered th.; 
not wait for any reply, their commissioii l>eix 
leave the city. The Pope expressed his regre 
his foot, and departed with his henedictic 
later, Battista Bendedei and Aniello ^ 
Neapolitan ambassador, left Rome togeth 
Marino for supper, " where we were right g] 
by those Lords of the Colonna and by the M 
da Gennaro, the royal commissary.** * 

The position of the Pope was, to say tl 
peculiar one. He regarded himself as ass 
because of his fidehty to the Venetian aT 
royal attack had simply forestalled his o\ 
the Kingdom, and the immediate occasion 
been, if not his own direct permission, at Ic 

^ Dispatches of Battista Bendedei, May 1 2 sliic 
former inclosing a copy of the document tlia.t "wa 
Archivio di Modena, Carteggio degli ^tnbasc, 
Ferrarese orator accompanied Aniello to iMsiples 
to Rome for a while as a private person. 

176 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRAl 

daws of the winged Lion could clutch. Theg 
was along the Po, where the Duke of Urbino wi 
of the League, including a strong Milanese cont 
Trivulzio and aided by the Marquis of Mant 
endeavouring to support the Ferrarese ca 
definitely breaking with Venice, contested 1 
advance stubbornly. Before the end of Ma 
army had encamped before Ficarolo, and the ^ 
under Damiano Moro, arrived at the point ^ 
divides and goes towards Ferrara. 

This conjunction of the fleet and army < 
struck terror into the hearts of the Ferrares 
famine seized upon the city. The people h 
the blame for their sufferings upon the hated 
Antonio and Jacopo and their brothers, to ^ 
and policy the whole war was ascribed. " : 
cupidity and avarice," writes Calefiini, " i 
that they would have crucified Christ anoth 
money ; and the Duke saw and heard nothing 
wanted, and if any one of them was ill, the D 
with them, and it was thought that these i 
witched him." To appease the popular fu 
deprived Jacopo of his office of Judge of the 
him as ambassador to Milan ; but the mere i 
brother, Brandehgi, with the Duchess at one 
of the Castello, raised a tumult which 
the ambassadors of the League had only q 
utmost difficulty.^ Ercole now tried to alls 
appointing six Ferrarese citizens as Savii di 

1 Calefl&ni, Croniche del Duca Ercole, ft. 40-z^ 
had married a daughter of Folco da Villanova, L 
and had inherited his palace in the Borgo Nuov 

178 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRi^ 

Milan.^ The fighting was incessant, but less 
the fever and pestilence that set in, both on t 
in the camps. The Duke of Urbino broke doM 
More and the pfoweditore with the land ar 
Loredan, both sick to death, went back to V 
five weeks' si^e, the fortress was taken by stor 
of June, in the sight of the forces of the Leagu 
which were powerless to aid.* All the heroic ] 
perished ; but, what with the fighting and t 
the place had cost the Venetians several th 
In the light of his subsequent declarations, it ir 
that the Pope professed the utmost satisfactio 
of the fall of Ficarolo.^ 

The whole of the Ferrarese territory be 
now fell into the hands of the enemy. On A 
Venetians appeared before the walls of Rov 
the citadel was held by Count Niccold Ariosti, 
ducal captain of the district, with a mere ha 
the greater part of them sick ; resistance bei: 
citizens forced the Count to surrender the t 
Ferrarese forces were now withdrawn from t 
defence of Ferrara itself. 

^ Letter nominally from the Duke of Milan to Xi 
1482, in Rosmini, Vita di G. /. Trivulzio, ii. p. 93. 

' Sanudo, op. cit., col. 1219, makes the Duke of 
witness, but he had already left the seat of war. 
de* Conti, i. pp. 128, 129, and Baldi, Vita e fatt 
Monte feltro, 2nd edition, iii. p. 216. 

* Brief of July 6, 1482, to the Doge of Venice, in 
Biblioteca NazionaU, f . 3 1 3 . In the same brief. Six 
Doge's request to make Federigo da San Severing 
the deadhest foe of his own nephew I) a Cardina,! 
1496, preaching upon Amos in S. Maria del Fior 
obstinate defence of Ficarolo with the Italian collap>; 
of Charles VIII. (Cf. Villari and Casanova, Sc 
scrim di Fra Giroiamo Savonarola^ p. 223.) 

180 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERl 

seemed imminent ; the Pope was terrified ; < 
Rovere and the ambassadors of Ferdinand 
advised him to make peace. But at lengtt 
to urgent appeals from the Pope and Girolamo 
Senate ordered Roberto Malatesta to le; 
and set out for Rome, with all his army.^ C 
arrived in Rome, acclaimed by high and low a 
of the Church: "This is he that shall d 
shouted the crowd, as, handsome and smiling 
figure in his glittering armour, he rode throi 
to confer with the Pontiff. A few days late 
forces arrived, and the banners of the Pope j 
floated together over the city. 

Malatesta promptly took the field agai 
forces. Alfonso retreated before him, and tc 
position with his artillery near the Pontine ] 
so-called Campo Morto, between Velletri 
Here, on August 21, he was assailed by Mais 
pletdy defeated, himself only saved from 
valour of his Turkish followers, who fell in h 
his flight, and by the heroism of Anton 
Duke of Amalfi and nephew of Piu^ II, w 
victorious forces at the head of his squadron 
at bay until Alfonso had made good his esc 
Riario kept out of the fighting, on the plea < 
standards. There was a triumphal entry 

* On May 19, Vettor Soranzo received orders frc 
his fleet to attack the Kingdom. The Republic pr 
reluctance to taking Malatesta away from the eni 
but at length, June 8, gave him the order to go w 
and a month later sent all its troops from Ronia{ 
to Rome, leaving a small guard of mercenaries 
and Forli (Piva, i. pp. 95-104). 

182 



DUKES AND POETS IN Fl 

his bedside, to administer the last sacrame 
to the man to whom he owed the preserve 
and upon whom he had been building up £ 
triumphs in the future. The next day, 
he legitimated the dead hero's sons, an 
intention of investing them with the vi< 
under his protection.^ There were dark w 
of a deadly sequel to Count Girolamo's 
victory of Campo Morto ; there can, h 
doubt that Roberto had died from purely 
On the same day, September lo, the 
of the League, Federigo da Montefeltro, 
in the Duke's rooms in the garden of the 
before his death, he had striven to bring 
had been in negotiation with the Pope 
Giuliano to that end.^ He is said to hav( 
heart, when he heard of the victory of C 
his last hours were embittered by the be 
Malatesta intended to despoil his heir, G 
Duchy of Urbino. To Isabella da Mont 
Federigo's daughter and Roberto's wife, 
simultaneously the deaths of father and h 
baldo was then a mere child, and the care of 
devolved upon his uncle, Ottaviano da Mo] 
politician of ambiguous reputation. Tc 
wrote, expressing great grief at the death 

^ Briefs to the Council and Commune of '. 

Doge of Venice, September 1 1 , 1482. Archivio 1 

ft. 43-46. 

* Brief of September 3, 1482. Ibid., ff. 32, -■ 
3 Sigismondo de' Conti, i. p. 145. Zambottc 

the lying in state of Federigo at Ferrara. The ui 

he died at Bologna» is erroneous. 

184 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERR 

light-armed Albanians, he suffered ultimate] 
defeat, and fled back to Argenta with a handf i 
Venetians took seven hundred prisoners, incl 
San Severino (one of the condottieri of the D 
and Niccolo da Correggio. These they se 
paraded in triumph through the Piazza di S 
kept rigorously imprisoned. 

Prompt succour came from Milan in the ] 
Jacopo Trivulzio, in whom Leonora and i 
greatest confidence. He was probably th 
they could have found, to defend what re 
duchy, and they were profuse in their gratiti] 
of Milan.^ Trivulzio promptly strengthene 
tions of Bondeno and Argenta, and w 
organizing the defence. But dissensions s< 
With all his undoubted valour and military 
was self-sufficient and choleric, could brool^ 
and would not work with the other Milar 
who arrived upon the scene a little later, 
with Sforza Secondo, an illegitimate broth 
and openly showed his contempt for th- 
Sigismondo d' Este. " Let us remind y 
Duke of Milan, or Lodovico in his name, 
most illustrious Lord Messer Sigismondo i 
authority that he has, you must pay him i 
and generally comport yourself towards 
discretion and modesty as we are certain ] 
in the same way with the Magnifico Sfor: 
it may be manifest that you are bent up 
the benefit of that most illustrious Lord the 

^ Cf. documents in Rosmini, op. cit,, ii. pp. 9S 
* Letter of November 28, 1482. Rosmini, op 

186 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERI 

somersault, which his greater nephew was to 
following century — ^he completely changed ] 
found himself threatened from the north v 
of the Council of Basle — this being, in Mi 
phrase, " the ecclesiastical penalty of tempoi 
— ^and realized that the Venetians were bent 
acquisition of Ferrara. The orators of Lor< 
and of Milan urged him to make peace be 
late, and the ambassadors of the Cathol 
Spain put on still stronger pressure. The Cj 
threw his influence into the same scale, i 
held out for a while, and warned the Veneti 
in progress. The Republic instructed 
Francesco Diedo, to dissuade the Pope from i 
the King of Naples, and to promise the ai< 
against him. But Girolamo was bought 
promises of the ambassadors of the League 
to have included (alas, for the Pope's { 
investiture of the fief of Rimini, the patrii 
Malatesta,* And Sixtus gave way. 

Seeing what was on foot, the Venetians 
on the war with the utmost vigour, if pos 
acquisition of Ferrara an accomplished 
Pope's tergiversation became definite and 
November 20, their army crossed the Po 
by a bridge of boats. Trivulzio drove b; 
guard, but was forced to retreat be! 
nmnbers, burning the fortifications on 

^ Lorenzo de* Medici, p. 195. 

8 Sanudo, op. cit., col. 1225 ; Pastor, ii. p. 52 
in Decembcar, the Venetians offered Faenza^ 
vallo to Riario, to keep the Pope in their allia 
but it was then too late. 

188 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERF 

room where the Duke lay upon a bed, " witt 
with his beard long, and he could hardly s 
his eyes." For more than an hour they pa 
touching his hand, going in at one door and c 
in a continuous stream, many weeping and \ 
of consolation. At last, seeing him worn out, 
that some people came through more than 
had the doors closed.^ The same aftemoc 
Rinaldo d* Este and Francesco Ariosti, th 
into the piazza in arms, and professed the 
sally out against the enemy in the Barco ; b 
forbade it. 

On the same day as the passage of the Vex 
ber 20, Giovanni Bentivoglio wrote to I 
haste and exultation, that that morning a 
of the Cardinal Gonzaga had arrived ai 
came from Rome, and, under pretext of g 
was to announce to Ercole that the peac 
eluded at Rome, and to encourage him to 
and defend himself vigorously, because 1 
his preservation and that of his Duchy. 
Francesco Bdvisi, a servant of the C 
arrived at Bologna, and came on at on< 
assure the Duke of the Pope's good dis 
him and his State.* All now depended i 

^ Zambotto, £E. 108-109. "lo steti sempi 
vedere tale visitatione." The officials aimed a1 
are obviously the Trotti. A few days later, in 
representations, they were secretly sent out o 
laws ascribed to them were cancelled, tlie ' 
property by having it conveyed to the Castle 
confiscated. Caleffini, Croniche del IHica Erco 

> Dallari^ pp. 99, 100. 

190 



DUKES AND POETS IN ] 

to the defence of the city itself, all the 
and the other captains were devoted t 
on the one side, Bondeno and Stellata 
possession of these two fortresses keepin; 
by which supplies and provisions coulc 
the districts of Modena and R^gio. R< 
hurried forward from Milan and Bolo 
who had been deputed to guard Aigenta, 
up a party of Albanians and Slavonian 
of the Venetians with Roberto himsel 
their advance, but lay comparatively ina 
and Pontelagoscuro. 

The condition of the dty was terriblCj 
of the Ferrarese grew intense. A lai 
pleasure-loving population, which had 
serious experience of war than the cc 
tumults at the end of Borso's reign and tl 
of Niccold di Leonello, found itself 
the walls, decimated with pestilence, r 
and privation. Homeless fugitives fi 
towns, starving peasants from the < 
through the streets with their families 
so wasted that they seemed like pan 
supplies which Leonora had obtained 
R^gio, at the risk of a revolution ii 
altogether inadequate even for the ne 
alone. Ferrara was only saved from 
Pope taking the final plunge that left 1 
the Duke of Calabria to come to her aid. 

^ Sanudo, op. cit,, col. 1224 ; Sigismondo de' 
two surviving mistresses of Niccol6 III., Cami 
Anna de' Roberti, were carried oflf by the pe 

192 



DUKES AND POETS IN FEI 

of Modena. To judge from the languag 
Father, he has only just heard of the dai 
has instantly joined the League for its def 
moned the Doge of Venice to desist from 
restore what he has taken, and embrace 
is greatly consoled by the loyal aid of the 
League and by what he has heard of the trie 
Ferrarese to their Duke, whom, together w 
he has taken under his special protectio 
and Duke have full trust in his Legate, ^ 
them with spiritual and temporal favours, a 
the Duke that he, the Pope, is entirely bent 
and the reintegration of his State. " Tl 
salvation from the Lord," he assures Ei 
counsels of them that work iniquity shall no 
us." If the enemy do not desist from he 
powers of the Roman Church shall be tume 
Let the people of Modena and Reggio, too, k 
loyal to their Prince, " whereby you will o 
peace, and obtain our benediction and sp 
. that of the Apostolic See." * 

On December 13, Fra Cherubino daSpol 
great sanctity," announced the peace froi 
the Duomo. There was a solenm servic 
17th, when, in the presence of the Duche 
bassadors of the League, the friar exhorte 
thank God upon their knees, while the ban 
was waved over their heads. The banner 
in procession through the streets ; bells i 

* Briefs of December 13 and 14, 1482. Archit 
15, ff. 244-248, 252, 253. See present work, A] 
ments 9, 10 and 1 1. 

194 



DUKES AND POETS IN ] 

so meny and jovial in his life/ The p 
proclaimed in Rome on Christmas Eve. C 
by Pontiff and people, the once hated an< 
of Calabria appeared in the Eternal Ci 
blessed sword from the hands of the Pope, 
his army for Ferrara. At the b^;inning 
Cardinal of Mantna made his state ent 
in the name of the Pope, escorted from 
Bentivoglio. 

In the meanwhile, Sigismondo de' Con 
us still in his History of his own times, a 
old age was to be eternalized in Kapha 
Foligno — ^had been sent from the Pope to 
tians. He was the bearer of a brief froi 
Doge and a letter from the Cardinals, in wh 
were urged to accede to " this holy and i 
to lay aside their arms and desist from the 
in which case the Pope pledged himself to se 
if they had any cause of complaint agi 
Sigismondo himself spoke, drew a piteous pi 
plight, assured the Senate that he had lea 
to know the dignity and glory of Venice, an 
diligently cultivate their friendship for the 

But the Venetians remained steadfast, 
that they had only entered into the war at 
of the Pope himself, and that they woul 

^ See letter of Giovanni Sabadino degli Ari 
December 20. DaUari, p. 102, note i. Giovai 
fortnight previously, had been negotiating wit! 
be taken into their pay and under their protectio 

^ Sigismondo de' Conti, i. pp. 158-164. The 
ad apicem Summi Apostolaius, is printed in Raynal 
Annali and elsewhere. It is dated Decemb^ i: 
Vaticano, xxxix. 15, flf. 239-241. 

196 



DUKES AND POETS IN I 

Their ambassador, Francesco Diedo, lei 
that the Republic would have recourse to 
if a Crusade were proclaimed against it. 
perhaps, practicable, even at that epoch ; 
had sent to urge the Turk against Naples 
stirring up the Swiss against the Duchy < 

On January 15, the Duke of Calabria, a 

of the League, entered Ferrara, follow 

which included several hundred Turks ta 

of whom the greater part took the firs 

deserting to the Venetians. Gathering 

ties within the city that Alfonso had 

again advanced in force into the Barco, an 

to battle ; but, meeting with no response 

camp at Pontelagoscuro. Florentine and ; 

came next, under the conunand of the C01 

and Virginio Orsini. A number of unimpor 

ful actions all along the line raised the spirit; 

and a state ball was given in the Corte Vec 

ary, the allied princes — Ercole himself, ^ 

covered his health, the Duke of Calabria, 

(acting always in the name of his hdples! 

the titular Duke of Milan), Lorenzo « 

Marchese Federigo Gonzaga (who now firsl 

the League), and Bentivoglio-^met in the ] 

under the presidency of the Cardinal Gonza 

preservation of Ferrara,** it was said, " de 

of all Italy." It was resolved immediat 

offensive, and to reUeve the pressure uj 

answers, the Pope's rejoinder and the Venetian re] 
elegantissimaa epistolae, printed by William Cm 
produced in facsimile by James Hyatt, with an 
translation by G. Bulleii (London, 1892). 

198 



DUKES AND POETS IN I 

the League, or the reinforcements neec 
defence of Ferrara itself and the sec 
the fortress which was regarded as the ke] 

With all the energy of his nature, the 
League agauist the contumacious Repu 
Powers to contribute the men and mo3 
mised, insisting upon the equipment 
of a powerful fleet to assail the Venetia 
protest before God and men," he wrot 
Naples, " that if anything sinister happei 
in His clemency avert I), it will not ha; 
fault. All wiU impute it to thy Majest 
Duke of Milan he represented Ferrara as 
rest of Italy, against the insatiable lust oi 
Venetians. The position at Pontelago 
strong to be assailed, the only chance fc 
Ferrara is to take the offensive in Lombai 
the Duke instantly do. Otherwise, she 
the Venetians will certainly turn their 
against Milan. Let him then take the agg 
all the Powers of Italy will support him, w 
will pursue the Venetians, not only wit] 
but with censures and interdict.* 

This, indeed, was the point to whic 
Arlotti, Bishop of Reggio and now Ercol 
at the Vatican, and the Count Girolamo, 
all his old hatred of Ferrara and Naples i 
tians, were striving to bring the Pope, 
decisive step. On May 24, he excommuni 
put the Republic under the interdict, in thi 

* Brief of March 17, 1483. Archivio Vaticano, 
» Brief of April 21, 1483. Ibid,, ff. 511-513. 

200 



DUKES AND POETS IN F 

inmost heart. And at the end you will 

him that, as he does not cease from fav 

with spiritual arms, he will also proceed 

succour and support, even as in both resp 

by sending hither his men-at-arms, and doi 

that are expedient for our safety ; so that 

that we are aided by his Holiness in ev 

held back and may know their error ; an 

not correct themselves, as they show th 

their unbridled pride and ambition may I 

The strained state of the Duke's mind ai 

of his situation may excuse this somei^ 

epistle. The Pope, now that he had ona 

self, was bent upon doing the thing tho 

canst be assured," he wrote to Ercole, " 

upon nothing more than upon the conserv 

of ours, upon which also depends the saf( 

Italy." * He sent com and other sup] 

kept urging on the Powers to move with 

to Ercole's succour, and dispatched the 

Venetians to all the sovereigns of Euroj 

have it pubhshed and carried into effect 

dominions. '' Unless this unbridled lust 

coerced," he wrote to the Emperor, " we s 

that, even as they occupy our cities of Ra\ 

Padua, and many other places of diverse 

will reduce Ferrara to their t3nrannical swa 

rest of Italy, in order that finally they ma 

Germany and the other emperies of Christ- 

^ Minute Ducali per Roma a Buonftancesco a 
Modena, Carteggio degli Ambasdatori'-Roma. 
* Brief of June 8, 1483. Archivio Vaticano, xx 

202 



DUKES AND POETS IN FE 

Venetians and that the little garrison w^ 

he sallied out of Ferrara at the head of his r 

mounted balestrieri, took the enemy in the 

them headlong in rout. The Venetian s 

number of prisoners were captured. The d 

had grown pressing again. The Pope, d< 

Stellata had fallen, it would have been all 

itself, was more and more vehement and 

appeals to the Powers of the League, espe< 

Naples, to provide Ercole with men and 

urging the Duke of Savoy and King Ferrj 

the starving Ferrarese with com and ] 

insisted upon the Duke of Calabria leaving 

returning in person to the defence of F< 

complied ; but a general attack upon the V 

at Pontelagoscuro — ^to which the Pope ha 

generals — failed, much to the grief of his He 

The war continued, in a half-hearted w 

any important action, alike in Lombardy ai 

mainland and in the Ferrarese territory, 

spring of 1484, mainly to the disadvantage o 

Both parties were growing weary of the wai 

taken the fatal step of appealing to the 

Pope had written to the King of Hunga 

instantly to invade the Venetian territory wil 

army.' The Venetians had invited the Dul 

renew the claims of the Visconti upon Milai 

of Bourbon iii the name of Anjou to assai 

* Various briefs of September 17, November 2, 1 
Afchivio Vaticano, xxxix. 16, flf. 21, 68, 84V. 

* Briefs of November 15. Ibid,, f. 71. 

* Brief of March 10, 1484. Archivio Vatican 
49-50. 

204 



DUKES AND POETS I^ 

Kingdom. The Venetians took advan 
secretly to offer their support to La 
sum of money to further his plans 
of July, Trivulzio came disguised intc 
and opened negotiations with Robe 
on Ijodovico's behalf.^ The captains 
the potentates could only send theii 
the conference that met at Bagnolo in 
where it soon became evident that Loc 
tians were working together, and thai 
would have to go to the wall. 

The Pope stormed against the cessat 
the conditions proposed. " He uses 
language in the world/' wrote Arlotti t 
that he has been deceived and betray 
if all the aUies and the captains of th 
that even a dishonourable peace was 
would not take the responsibility of ale 

" To-day at sunset," wrote Lodovico 1 
on August 7, " to the praise and glor 
the peace has been concluded and stip 
most holy and most serene League and 
Signoria of Venice, which we hope is to I 
and bond of perpetual quiet and rest i 
Italy." ' Venice and Naples were to 
places they had lost in the war, as ah 
possessions of the Rossi were ceded tc 
Roberto da San Severino was to be Ca] 

1 Cf. Rosmini, op. cit., i. p. 137, ii. p. 126 ; I 
295, 296. 

> Dispatches of Buonfrancesco Arlotti, JuJ 
1484. Archivio di Modena, Cmieggio degh Am 

' RoBznini, op. cit., ii. p. 127. 

206 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

gave evasive answers ; but Arlotti passionately protested 
against the way in which the Duke of Ferrara had been 
abandoned by his allies, and that he had only 3rielded under 
compulsion. "We know," said the Pope, "the great 
prudence of the Majesty of the King, of the Lords of Milan, 
the Florentines and the Duke of Ferrara, the experience 
and sagacity of the Dukes of Calabria and Bari, who have 
brought this about. If all these have made and consented 
to this peace, judging it to be the better part, we, who have 
not such great prudence and less experience, are willing to 
follow them and agree to all they wish, even as we have done 
during the war. With great expense to ourselves have we 
carried on that war to save Ferrara, and to please the Majesty 
of the King and the other allies, and so were we ready to 
continue. Greatly does it grieve us that the Duke of 
Ferrara has not more grounds for content and satisfaction ; 
but since he who has managed this affair thinks that it is 
necessary so, and that he cannot do otherwise, we, together 
with that Duke, shall have patience, and shall consider 
that everything is permitted for the best by our Lord God, 
from whom cometh all good and nothing evil." ^ 

But Sixtus could ill dissemble his rage and indignation. 
When the other ambassadors left the room, Arlotti remained 
behind, and the Pope bade him comfort Ercole in his name, 
and remind him that, since Ferrara itself was saved, time 
would bring new remedies and resources. That same night 
Sixtus died, denouncing the conditions of the peace with 
his last breath, declaring that Lodovico Sforza was a traitor. 

* In consequence of the great interest and importance of 
Arlotti's dispatch of August 12, I give the fuU text in Appendix 
II., document 14. 

' Dispatch of Buonfrancesco Arlotti, August 14, 1484 (Archivio di 
Modena, lac. cit,) ; Sigismondo de' Conti, i. p. 204. 

208 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

There were magnifioent festivities in Venice at the begin- 
ning of February, 1485, to celebrate the peace, with many 
days' jousts and tournaments, at the instance of Roberto 
da San Severino. After some hesitation, Ercole accepted 
the invitation of the Signoria to be present, in sign of amity 
and complete reconciliation, and was greatly gratified at 
the cordiality of his reception. On the afternoon of Febni- 
aiy 3, he arrived by water from Corlxda at Chioggia. On the 
way the Podesti met him, and welcomed him in the name 
of the Signoria, and when he landed a band of Venetian 
gentlemen were waiting to escort him to the palace of the 
town, to assure him of the great expectation that all Venice 
had of his coming. The next day he went on by sea to 
Malamocco, where he dined, and was greeted by more Vene- 
tian gentlemen from the Signoria. At San Clemente, 
the Doge and Senators came in the state Bucentaur, 
with Roberto and Leone da San Severino, to meet and 
embrace him. Ercole went on board the ducal vessel, 
and, surroimded by a flotilla of smaller ships, they brought 
him to his own palace in Venice, "which we have found," 
he wrote to Leonora, " in every part well prepared, adorned 
and furnished with abundance of all things meet for our 
recq)tion and honourable entertainment. Verily, the 
demonstrations made towards us up to now could not have 
been greater nor more loving. We have received consolation 
and comfort therefrom, and we gladly share them with your 
Lad3^hip." He spent several dajrs at Venice, using towards 
the Doge " those most sweet and loving words that were 
possible to us, to show him our filial observance." Once 
" we went to Murano, where they make so many kinds of 
right beautiful vessels of glass." Every day he was with 
the Doge to watch the jousts, which were of the most 

210 



Chapter VII 
IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

THE ten years that follow the peace of Bagnolo are the 
most splendid in the history of the Courts of the 
Italian Renaissance, before the terrible wave of ultra- 
montane invasion had swept over the Alps. " It is manifest," 
writes Guicdardini in the proem to his history, " that, since 
the Roman Empire, weakened chiefly by reason of the 
mutation of its ancient customs, b^an more than a thousand 
years ago to decline from that greatness to which, with 
marvellous virtue ahd fortune, it had ascended, Italy had 
never felt such great prosperity, nor experienced so desirable 
a state, as was that in which she reposed in security, the year 
of Christian Salvation, 1490, and the years which inmiediately 
preceded and followed that. Evers^wrhere she was restored 
to perfect peace and tranquillity ; * the most mountainous 
and most barren places were cultivated, no less than the 
plains and more fertile regions ; she was subjected to no other 
rule save that of her own sons. Not only was she most abund- 
ant in inhabitants and m wealth, but shone with the 
utmost lustre by the magnificence of many princes, by the 
splendour of many most noble and most beauteous cities, 
by the majesty of religion of which she was the seat ; she 

i Guicdardini here forgets the perpetual wars between Pop^ 
Innocent VIII and King Ferrante of Naples. 

212 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

life of the epoch, drinking in what was best in its spirit, 
absolutely untainted by its darker side— its cruelty and 
lust, its loosening of all ties and obligations, human and 
divine, — ^which, though held in check in Ferrara by the 
personal influence of the Duke and Duchess^ was manifest 
enough there as elsewhere.^ Hardly in the least exaggerated 
is the enthusiastic praise of the women of the House of Este, 
which Ariosto puts upon the lips of " the courteous en- 
chantress " in satisfaction of Bradamante's desire to bear 
of the belle e virtuose donne to come from her race :— 

Da te uscir veggio le pudiche donne, 
Madri d'Imperatori e di gran R^;i» 
Reparatrici e solide colonne 
Di case illustri e di domini egregi ; 
Che men degne non aon ne le lor gonne, 
Ch'in arme i cavallier, di aonuni pregi, 
Di piet^, di gran cor, di gran prudenza, 
Di somma e incomparabil continenza.* 

The frequent absences of the Duke from his capital, and 
the taxes imposed to gratify his lavish spectacular and 
decorative tastes, aroused much discontent at times. " He 
just takes," says a contemporary manuscript,* **all the 
pleasures that he likes, and fills up his time with astrology 
and necromancy, giving very small audience to his people' 

1 Mrs. Ady finely remarks : '* If in Isabella we have the supreme 
representative of Renaissance culture in its highest and most 
intellectual phase, Beatrice is the tyi)e of that new-found joy in life. 
that intoxicating rapture in the actual sense of existence, that vas 
the heritage of her generation." {BMirice d* Este, preface, p. vij 

« Orlando Furioso, xiii. 57. ** From thee I see issue the pure 
ladies, mothers of emperors and of great kings, that shall restore 
and sustain illustrious Houses and noble dominions. Not less 
worthy are they in their women's weeds than the knights in arms; 
of highest worth, pitiful and great of heart, right prudent, supreme 
and incomparable in virtue." 

* Frizzi, iv. p. 147. 

214 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

Murders and robberies with violence, even sacking of shops, 
took place in broad daylight.* The offices of State were 
openly sold to M the ducal treasury, and the purchasers got 
back their outlay by extortion and oppression. Away 
from Ferrara,as at Massa Fiscaglia in 1488 and at Argenta 
in 1489, the people rose ^and took vengeance summarily 
upon their Podesti, and, in a subsequent chapter, we shall 
see an even more notable act of popular justice in Ferrara 
itsdf. 

Duke Ercole had a perfect passion for the drama. Under 
his auspices Ferrara was now to witness what was little less 
than the restoration, tlie new birth of the theatre of the 
ancients, naturally followed a little later by the modem 
Italian comedy of the Renaissance. With the year i486 
begins the great series of dramatic representations in 
Ferrara, which marks an epoch in the history of the Italian 
stage. Nearly fifteen years before at Mantua— recent 
researches have shown that it was precisely in that fateful 
July of I47i,when Duke Borso lay on his death-bed at 
Ferrara, and his nephew Niccold had fled from Ercole 
to seek aid from the Gonzaga and Sforza — the Festa or 
Favola d'Orfeooi young Angelo Poliziano had been recited 
under the auspices of the Marchese Lodovico and the 
Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga, as a part of the festivities 
that welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Milan.* This, 
however, as Del Lungo and D' Ancona have pointed out, does 
not represent the beginning of the Italian secular drama ; 

^ Writing under 1478, Caleflani says : " In this time Ferrara was 
a den of thieves, and there were many murderers ; every day people 
were killed, wounded or robbed, and never was any robber or 
murderer found." In 1480, it was found necessary to issue a 
proclamation abrogating the right of the churches to give sanctuary 
to criminals. Croniche del Duca Ercole, ft. 33, 35V. 

« I. Del Lungo, FhrenHa, pp. 284 et seq. 

215 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in spite of its mytholc^cal theme, Poliziano's Orfeo still 
retains the characteristics of the sacra rappresentazionc] 
but it clearly implies " the application of the forms of 
the popular and religious mystery to a classical and profane 
subject, and, corresponding to this, the rising of an Italian 
theatre no longer in the squares or in a church, but in a 
Court.** * For some time this stood alone, until Isabella 
d' Este brought the Ferrarese influence to the dty of the 
Gonzaga ; and we must look to Ferrara and the year i486 
for the real beginning of the Italian drama. " Ercole I," 
writes D'Ancona, " without entirely^ abandoning or despising 
the religious form, favoured and aided with his example and 
with his encouragement the instauration of the secular 
theatre, of classical character in its art and of courtly 
magnificence in its mounting." * 

On January 25, i486, the stage was set up in the cortile of 
the ducal palace opposite the chapel, and the series began 
with the Menaechmi of Plautus. The Marquis of Mantua 
had come the day before to be present, and some thousands 
of spectators witnessed the performance in silence, bursting 
out into clamorous and enthusiastic applause at the end. 
The scenery and the realism of a boat with sails and oars and 
ten persons on board, which moved across the stage, roused 
general admiration, and the cost is said to have amounted 
to more than a thousand ducats.' Next year, 1487, on 
January 21, to honour the marriage of his favourite Giulio 
Tassoni with Ippolita de* Contrari, the Duke had an original 
Italian play produced — the Favola di Cefalo, by that most 

* Del Lungo, op. cU,, p. 320 ; A. D'Ancona, Origini del Teatro 
Italiano, ii. pp. 349, 35a 

* Op. cit,, ii. p. 352. 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 278 ; Zambotto, f, 173. 

216 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

perfect knight of Italian court chivalry, Niccold da Correggio. 
Though not devoid of merit, the play may be described as 
an imitation of Poliziano's Orfeo, with hardly a trace of its 
l5nical beauty and more obviously influenced l>y classical 
models. It was on this same occasion that the Duke gave 
the bridegroom the magnificent new palace that he had 
built near San Francesco, now called the Palazzo Pareschi, 
and granted him the right to bear the arms of Este. 

In this same month of January, 1487, the marriage was 
celebrated of Annibale Bentivoglio with Ercole's bastard 
daughter, Lucrezia. -Annibale had visited Ferrara two 
years before, and Ercole, writing to Giovanni Bentivoglio, 
had expressed the great pleasure that he had derived from 
the visit, and assured him that the yoimg man had won the 
hearts of all the Coiut. He painted in glowing terms the 
mutual affection of the two, " being both beautiful and in their 
first love," and suggested that the marriage had better be 
hurried on. Bentivoglio, however, raised some objection, 
and the matter had been in consequence deferred until this 
year.^ To do honour to the occasion, on January 25, the 
AmpkUruo of Plautus was given, with musical interludes ; 
there was a Paradise or Olympus constructed with lamps 
for stars and Uttle children dressed as planets, " that was a 
wondrous thing to see " ; but the performance " was not 
finished, because there came a great rain, which fell upon 
the spectators, although the cortile was almost all covered 
over with canvas." The entertainment was repeated on 
February 3, for the pleasure of the Marquis of Mantua, with- 



^ Letters of Ercole to Giovanni II. Bentivoglio, January 8 and 14, 
1485. (Dallari, pp. 108, 109). Lucrezia's dowry from her father 
amounted to 10,000 ducats, to which Giovamii Bentivoglio added 
2,000 more {ibid,, p. 114, note). 

217 P 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

out whose genial and sportive presence no f esta in Ferrara 
seemed complete ; this time they played the whole thing 
through, with a pageant of the Labours of Hercules at the 
end.* 

In the years that followed, Boiardo produced his Timm, 
a dramatization of a dialogue of Lucian, and Tebaldeo, 
whom we shall meet again, recast the Orfeo of Poliziano into 
the form of a r^ular tragedy. Gradually almost all the 
comedies of Plautus and Terence were brought upon the 
boards of the ducal theatre— occasionally in the original, 
but more usually translated or imitated — ^Ercole being 
exceedingly particular about the fidelity and accuracy of the 
versions provided for him. And these performances — ^which 
were held sometimes in the cortile, sometimes in the Sala 
Grande of the palace — were not confined to the Court. As 
far as space admitted, the people were allowed to assist as 
spectators ; and in the first printed edition of the Cefalo it 
is distinctly stated that the fable was " composed by the 
Lord Niccold da Correggio for the most illustrious Duke 
Ercole, and by him represented to his most prosperous 
people of Ferrara." This was especially the case when the 
representation was held in the cortile ; according to Zam- 
botto, as many as ten thousand persons witnessed the per- 
formance of the Menaechmi, which may be said to have 
inaugurated the whole. 

A curious episode of the year 1487 may be mentioned. 
Ercole had vowed a pilgrimage to St. James of G)mpostela, 
and set out in March with a splendid company. At Milan, 
where he stopped for Holy Week, a message reached him 
from the Pope bidding him, under pain of excommunication, 
go no further, and conunuting the matter of the vow to 
^ Zambotto, flf. i8iir.-i82v. 
218 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

a visit to Rome. It seems that Innocent scented some 

political intrigue under this religious seeming. "Duke 

Ercole took it very ill," writes the Ferrarese Diarist, " but 

he had to obey and to go to Rome." » He reached the 

Eternal City on May 22, and had a ceremonious reception, 

representatives of the Pope meeting him at intervals on the 

way. Half a mile before reaching the Ponte Milvio, the 

Senator and Conservatori greeted him ; between the bridge 

and the gate, the households of the Cardinals and the 

ambassadors of the Italian sovereigns, and, a little nearer, 

the household of the Pope with twenty-four prelates and 

other dignitaries, welcomed him. The Cardinal Lorenzo 

Gybe and the Cardinal Ascanio Sforza awaited him, and 

brought him to the palace into the presence of Innocent, 

preceded by the ambassadors. The Pontiff received him 

with all the Cardinals sitting round, as is done in the 

Consistory, and made him sit among them under the last 

Cardinal Deacon, after which Cybo and Sforza brought 

him to his apartments.* On the last day of May, 

Ascamo Sforza gave a great hunt in the Duke's honour, six 

miles out of Rome, which " was a worthy and honourable 

thing, alike because of the equipment, which was right 

splendid and magnificent, and because of the banquet, which 

was as sumptuous and ample as could be ^escribed." ' Ercole 

left Rome on June 5, and stayed some days at Urbino and 

ForU on his way home. While at the latter town, he 

» Diario Ferrarese, col. 279. 

vJli^lfff***^ °* Ercole's reception are from a MS. now in the 
Vati^n Library, Cod. Barberirn, Ivu. 44 (S. 690, 70). 

r^r2 T^t.^ ^ ^«' J«°e 3. 1487. Archivio di Modena, 
f^^„ ^W/^-. The Notaio di Nantiporto Bays: "They 
!™^^L!°!.***« • ^ "^^t "^ ^>^Y arranged ; but right weU 
/Z^>^^ **°^''**** San Giovanni deUaMagliana." Rerum 
llaltcarum Scrtptores, iu. 2, col. 1 105.) 

219 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

heard that Ippolito had started for Hungary, to take up his 
/ Archbishopric of Esztergom (the young prelate was not nine 
years old), and sent him his paternal blessing through 
Leonora. Count Girolamo was away at Imola, sick appa- 
rently with a diplomatic illness ; but he very courteously 
received Alberto della Sala, whom Ercole had sent to thank 
him for his reception at Forll.^ 

The next year, 1488, was one of blood and tumult for 
Ercole's neighbours, the tyrants of Romagna. Count 
Girolamo Riario was butchered in Forli on April 14, and his 
corpse dragged through the streets by the populace ; but 
prompt aid from Milan and Bologna placed the city again 
at the mercy of the Count's heroic widow, Caterina Sforza. 
On the last day of May at Faenza, Francesca, Giovanni 
Bentivoglio*s daughter, — amoved thereimto, says Machia- 
veUi, " either by jealousy or by having been badly treated 
by her husband, or by her own evil nature,'* — ^murdered her 
husband, Galeotto Manfredi, in their own bed-chamber. 
According to Machiavelli, BentivogUo was privy to the 
design, in the hopes of becoming lord of Faenza. With a 
condottiere of the Duke of Milan and a strong force of armed 
men, he advanced upon Faenza and occupied it; but 
the men of the Val di Lamone poured into the city, shouting 
for young Astorre (the murdered man's son) and for the 
Florentines, killed the Milanese condottiere, took Benti- 
vogUo prisoner, and handed him over, together with the place, 
to Antonio BoscoU, the commissary of Florence. 

Informed of what had happened, the Duke of Ferrara 
wrote at once to Ginevra Sforza (BentivogUo's wife) and to 
Annibale, offering his services on behalf of their husband and 

* Letters of June 20 and 22, 1487, from Ercole to Leonora. 
Archivio di Modena, Ca/rteggio dei Principi, 

220 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

.father. Lorenzo de' Medici and the Florentines, before 
releasing him, required from the Duke of Milan a promise 
that he would interfere no more with the city and people of 
Faenza; and Ercole, who was insistent on Bentivoglio's 
behalf, alike with Lodovico Sforza and Lorenzo de' Medici, 
dissuaded Ginevra and Annibale from their professed in- 
tention of declaring war against Florence, if he were not 
instantly set free. By the end of June, Bentivoglio was 
back in Bologna, and took his revenge by persuading II 
Moro to give an annual provision of 300 ducats to Ottaviano 
Manfredi, a rival claimant to Astorre's signory, who stayed 
under Ercole's protection at Ferrara to serve in case of need 
as a threat against Lorenzo and the Florentines, who by the 
protection of Faenza had enormously increased their in- 
fluence in eastern Italy .^ 

In November, a conspiracy of the Malvezzi and Bar- 

gellini and others at Bologna, to murder Bentivoglio with all 

his family in their palace at a banquet and overturn the 

State, was discovered on the very day upon which it was to 

have taken effect. On December 10, Lucrezia wrote to her 

step-mother, the Duchess Leonora : " Now, thanks be to 

God, 1 tod myself in good favour with these my magnificent 

parents-in-law, and they treat me very affectionately, with 

demonstrations of love better than in the past ; on my side 

1 shall strive my best that these things shall last. I shall 

write nothing else to your Excellence, save that we have all 

had a great fright, and especially myself, who was never too 

courageous. I still cannot free me from it, for, at every 

I See various letters interchanged between Ercole, Ginevra and 
Annibale, and Giovanni Bentivoglio, during June and July, 1488. 
Dalian, pp. 1 21-123. Both the Bentivoglio, father and son, were 
in the pay of the Duke of Milan, and Ercole had frequently, in these 
years,to use his influence to get their stipends regularly given to them. 

221 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

little noise I hear, it seems to me that those are at hand who 
come to do some harm." * 

The splendid marriages of the Duke*s three eldest legiti- 
mate children lit up the years 1490 and 1 491 . As early as 1477, 
as we have seen, Alfonso d' Este, the "hereditary prince" 
of Ferrara, had been betrothed to the sister of Gian Galcazio, 
Anna Sforza, then a child a little older than her pro- 
spective brid^oom. In 1480 Lodovico Sforza, then twenty- I 
nine, had demanded the hand of Isabella ; but, as she was 
already engaged to the son of the Marchese Federigo Gon- 
zaga, Ercole offered Lodovico the hand of his second little 
girl, Beatrice, instead — which II Moro promptly accepted.' 
The time had now come for these alliances to be carried into 
effect. In February, 1490, Isabella was taken in state to 
Mantua to be married to Gian Francesco Gonzaga, who 
had succeeded to his father as Marquis in 1484. At the 
end of the following December, in a winter of unusual 
severity, Beatrice with her mother, escorted by Galeazzo 
Visconti, a favourite courtier of the Duke of Ban, her 
brother Alfonso (who was to fetch back his own bride to 
Ferrara) and her uncle Sigismondo, joined on the way by 
Isabella, went to Pavia, where they were met by Lodovico 
Sforza, and the marriage was celebrated in the ducal chapel 
on January 17, 1491.* A most magnificent reception at 

^ Dallari, p. 126. 

* See letter from Duke Ercole to the Marquis of Mantua, in Luzio 
and Renier, Dells RelaxUmi di Isabella d* Este Gonzaga con Lodovico e 
Beatrice Sforza, p. 77 ; c£. Dallari, pp. 39, 40. 

' A full and picturesque account is given by Mrs. Ady, op. cit-, 
pp. 60-66. Leonora was a little nervous, because on the first night 
"that result had not followed which we naturally desired/' as 
Ercole put it — ^this being a point of great importance as non-con- 
summation of marriage in those days was a frequent pretext for a 
political divorce later. Ercole, however, assured her that all would 

223 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 



Milaxi followed, where a long series of splendid balls, with 
pageants and spectacles directed by no less a personage 
than Leonardo da Vinci himself, welcomed the young 
Ferrarese princess. Ercole was especially delighted to hear 
from his wife that Lodovico talked to her with great 
familiarity and affection, without using any reserve. " And 
when your Ladyship returns here," he writes, " we shall be 
glad for you to tell us by word of mouth exactly what he 
said, as you say that you will do." * 

Reading between the lines of another letter from Ercole 
to Leonora, we gather that— not imnatiurally — the daughter 
of King Ferrante had not been prepossessed in favour of 
the Duke of Bari before this visit, and that her husband 
was disposed to exult over her, in the testimony that she was 
being forced to bear to her new son-in-law's merits. Ercole 
has learned from her letter, he says, how Lodovico is heaping 
all imaginable demonstrations of affection upon her and the 
rest of the party, and how his Excellence, in public and in 
private, alike in the presence of the Venetian orator and in 
that of the Marquis of Mantua, has shown the cordial love 
he bears to him and her, and that he desires everything that 
is to Ercole's honour, reputation and advantage. "We 
have received such singular content, joy and pleasure from 
these things, that it is impossible for us completely to express 
it ; for we see that the most illustrious Lord, Messer Lodo- 
vico, gives every day further proofs of the cordial love that 

Y)e vrell ; Lodovico had refrained " because of the girl's inexperience 
and timidity, and the true love that he bears her, and because of the 
great desire his Excellence has had not to displease her " ; he is no 
doubt waiting for uno bon die a quel acto, i.e. a day considered favour- 
able by the astrologers. (Letter of January 21, 1491. Archivio 
di Modena, Carteggio dei Principi.) 

1 Letter of January 20, 1491 . Archivio di Modena, he. cii. 

223 



M, I 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

his Excellence bears us, and of his excellent will and dis- 
position towards us. For this your Ladyship has to thank 
him, in your name and in ours, with all your power, and 
to make him understand that we shall alwajrs be grateful to 
him for so many honourable demonstrations. And right 
well does it please us that your Ladyship should have learned 
to know by true experience what we have always told you 
concerning the prudence and wisdom of the said Lord, 
his goodness, and the love that his Excellence bears us, 
and what we have always believed and firmly expected 
from him ; for you will have seen and found it to be even 
more than we told you. And if you went over there with 
this good opinion, you will now return all the better edified, 
having seen, as you have, the excellent proofs of which you 
write to us, and you will think that we had formed a good 
and true opinion." ^ 

But even then a slight cloud appeared on the horizon. 
At her very entry into .the city, Beatrice resented having to 
3aeld precedence to her cousin, Isabella d' Aragona Sforza, 
the rightful Duchess of Milan, and thus began the bitter 
rivalry between these girls — ^which, it can hardly be doubted, 
was one of the factors in the mingled mass of motives that 
urged Lodovico on in his fatal course. For some while, 
however, all external manifestations of amity were kept up 
between the two Duchesses, and when once Lodovico had 
been induced to break off his liaison with his beloved 
mistress, Ceciha Gallerani, Beatrice's marriage was in most 
respects a happy one.* Dancing and riding, hawking and 

1 Letter from Ercole at Ferrara to Leonora at Milan, January 29, 
1 49 1. Archivio di Modena, loc, cit. 

* For all these transactions, see Mrs. Ady, op. cit., chapter viii. 
I can hardly follow her, however, in rejecting the story of the ani- 
mosity between the two duchesses ; cf . Luzio and Renier, op* cit., 

224 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

hunting, filled up her time, quaintly mingled with prac- 
tical joking and horse-play of a very primitive description. 
" The two duchesses," wrote Jacopo Trotti to Ercole 
on April 28, " have been having a sparring-match, and 
the Duke of Bari's wife has knocked down her of Milan."^ 
It is impossible not to suspect a double meaning in the 
Ferrarese diplomatist's report. Well had it been for Milan 
and the House of Sforza, if Beatrice had been content 
with thus knocking down her Neapolitan cousin only in 
sport! 

Anna and Alfonso had been privately married in Milan 
on January 23, and at the same time the marriage had been 
arranged between the younger Ercole d' Este, the son of the 
Duke's brother Sigismondo, and Angela Sforza, one of the 
nieces of Gian Galeazzo. There had been some haggling — 
unseemly to our modem notions, but taken as a matter of 
course according to the feeling and fashion of that age — 
about Annans jewels and Angela's dowry. Duke Ercole 
professed himself completely satisfied with his wife's 
diplomacy in these delicate matters, especially as the other 
side was equally pleased ; right glad was he, too, to hear 
that Leonora had taken a liking to her new daughter-in-law. 
"The more the most illustrious Madonna Anna satisfies 
your Ladyship," he writes, "and the better she gets on with 



p. 87. The flattering utterances of a mere Court poet like Bellin- 

cioni cannot, surely, outweigh the testimony of Bernardino Corio 

(iii. pp. 430» 458), and of the Ferrarese ambassador in Milan, not to 

speak of the bitter reference to Beatrice in Isabella's own appeal, a 

little later, to her father. On kay 21, 1492, Jacopo Trotti wrote 

from Milan to Duke Ercole : " This Duchess of Milan keeps rabid 

and desperate with the envy that she feels more than ever towards 

our Duchess of Bari." (Quoted by Balan, v. p. 328, note 6). 

1 Mrs. Ady, op. cit., p. 100. 

225 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

you, so much the more shall we be consoled and with greater 
contentment." * 

At the beginning of February Isabella d* Este accompanied 
Alfonso and Anna, with the Duchess, to Ferrara for the full 
solemnity. Escorted by two hundred knights of Milan, led 
by Ermes Sforza and the G)unt of Caiazzo, Francesco da 
San Severino, the bridal train came along the Po in a gaily 
decorated bucentaur to the Ferrarese landing-place, and 
passed the night in the convent of San Giorgio, Leonora and 
Isabella going on to the Castello. Next morning, February 
12, Isabella came to fetch the bride, and the whole party 
entered Ferrara on horseback over the PontediSan Giorgio 
and rode through the streets, greeted by pageantry in front 
of the Tassoni Palace, at the Schifanoia, outside San Fran- 
cesco and in the chief piazza. Under a canopy of white 
damask, Alfonso and Aima went together up the steps of the 
Corte Vecchia, where Leonora was waiting in state to receive 
them. There was a dance in the evening, followed by 
the performance of the Amphitruo again ; on the next day, 
after the nuptial benediction, there was another festa in the 
Sala Grande of the palace, when the Duke gave them the 
Menaechmi ; and at nightfall the sposi were brought by the 
covered way that coimected it with the Corte Vecchia to the 
Castello, and there put to bed with the curious ceremonies 
and practical joking which the taste of the age approved. 

* Letter from Ercole at Ferrara to Leonora at Pavia, February i, 
1491. Archivio di 'Modena, Carteggio dei Principi. In the same 
letter occurs a curious piece of etiquette : " As to the desire of the 
most illustrious Lord Lodovico, that his consort should be written 
to as Illustrissima, we say that it seems to us quite proper that, if 
lUustrissifno be written to the husband, Illustrissima should be 
written to the wife ; and we had foreseen this, because, in the letter 
that we wrote to the said Madama Duchessa di Bari, we wrote 
Illustrissima, as your Ladyship will have seen." 

326 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

The Marquis of Mantua especially distinguished himself by 
his f acetiousness on this occasion. Anna took it very quietly 
but Alfonso gave them back as good as he got.* 

Isabella sent such a glowing account of their brother's 
wedding to Beatrice, that the Duchess of Bari wrote back 
that she really seemed herself to be present at it. " I am 
quite certain," she said, " that those parades and triumphs 
have been done with that mastery and gaUant show that your 
Excellence writes me ; for, since they were thought out and 
^Jranged by the most illustrious Lord our Father, there is no 
doubt that the whole wiU have been carried out with the 
greatest wisdom and perfection, such being the custom of 
his Excellence." a 

Alfonso's secretary wrote of Anna in after years : " She 
was most beautiful and most gracious ; and Uttle else can 
be written about her, because she Uved but a short while.*' ^ 
She was quiet and devout in disposition, and won her f ather- 
m-law's heart at once. Otherwise, she remains Uttle more 
than a sweet and gracious shadow. 

The year 1492 opened under what seemed most favourable 
auspices for the maintenance of the peace of Italy, In 
January, the long conflict between the Church and Naples 
was brought to an end by a treaty, practically an alliance 
between the Pope and the King. But the death of that 
merchant arbiter of the destinies of the peninsula, Lorenzo 
de' Medici, on April 8, changed the aspect of affairs. 



I See extract from the letter from Ermes Sforza and ihe Count of 
Caiazzo to the Duke of Milan, in Luzio and Renier, op. cit., 
p. 96. For another instance, with a serious ending, of the taste of 
the age in these nuptial japeries, see Giraldi, Ecatommiti, i. 10. 

« Letter of February 23, 1491 . Luzio and Renier, op. cit., p. 97. 

3 Bonaventura Pistofilo, Vita di Alfonso I d' Este, p. 492. 

227 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

In the latter part of April, Ercole was in Rome, purdy for 
his devotion and to visit the holy places, as he protested. 
There had been some talk of his going on to Naples ; but 
the Pope objected on the grounds that, especially after the 
recent conclusion of the treaty, such a journey would wear 
a political aspect. The King, therefore, sent an ambassador 
to the Duke, to express his regret that he was unable to 
invite him to visit him. " We have accepted the excuse of 
his Majesty," writes Ercole to Leonora, " since it is caused by 
the above considerations ; we think that it is well to guard 
ourselves from putting jealous ideas into the heads of others, 
and especially since we have neighbours of the kind that we 
have." ^ 

On the evening of July 25, Pope Innocent VIII died; and 
on August II, the infamous Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia was 
elected to the papacy, and took the title of Alexander VI. 
" With simony and a thousand rascalities and shamefulness," 
said the Venetian orator in Milan to Jacopo Trotti, Ercole's 
representative, " the Pontificate has been sold, which is an 
ignominious and detestable thing." ^ And his Magnificence 
merely voiced the common conscience of Christendom. But 
Manfredo Manfredi, the Ferrarese ambassador in Florence, 
knowing the reUgious susceptibilities of the Duchess 
Leonora, wrote to her that, in spite of the things that had 
been done, Alexander's elevation was to be held the work 
of the Holy Spirit, and that men said that he would prove 
a glorious Pontiff.* There was wild exultation at the 

* Letter of April 21, 1492. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio dei 
Principi, 

a Dispatch of Jacopo Trotti to Ercole, August 28, 1492. Pastor, 
iii. document 14. 

' Letters of August 1 1 (?) and 1 7. Cappelli^ Fra Girolamo Savona- 
rola, pp. 322, 323. 

228 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

Milanese Court, where the whole election was ascribed to the 
machinations of the Cardinal Ascanio Sforza. A few days 
after the news of the election had spread through Italy, 
Isabella d' Este went to Milan by way of Cremona and Pavia, 
and, from Pavia and again from the capital, she wrote to 
tell her husband of the universal delight. On August 19, 
she dined with Lodovico and Beatrice, and after dinner, in 
the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Milan (who appear 
already to have been regarded as almost negligible quanti- 
ties in their own duchjy Lodovico showed a letter from the 
Milanese ambassador in Rome (who had, of course, written 
to him and not to his nominal sovereign), which he proceeded 
to read aloud. In this dispatch the Pope was represented 
as telling the ambassador that he confessed th&t he had been 
made Pope by Ascanio, " miraculously and contrary to the 
opinion of all the world," and that he intended to be the 
most grateful Pope that there ever was — ^with much more 
of the same tenor. Then Lodovico produced what pur- 
ported to be a letter written in the Pope's own hand to 
Ascanio, in a similar tone, and declared that his Holiness had 
told the ambassador that, knowing the importance of his 
(Lodovico's) i)osition and his prudence, he meant to rule 
in accordance with his views in such wise that he would 
practically be seated on the papal throne ! Whether the 
luckless young Duke of Milan had enough sense to realize 
that this triumph of his unde was his own ruin, we 
cannot say; but Isabella d' Este assured them all that she 
and her husband were greatly delighted, because of the 
affinity that they had with the Lord Lodovico/ 

In November, Alfonso d' Este went with " a most beau- 

* Letter oi August 19 from Isabella to the Marquis of Mantua. 
Luzio and Renier, op, ciL, pp. 351-352. 

229 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

teous company '* to congratulate the Pope on his elevation, 
and to commend his father's States to his protection. 
Alexander received him with the utmost cordiality, and 
heaped honours upon him. In Alfonso's train was the new 
Court painter of Ferrara, Ercole de' Roberti, with a com- 
mission from the Duchess to see certain things (sculptures 
and pictures, presumably), and report on them to her.* 
Alfonso was back in Ferrara by December i8; and on 
January 3, 1493, the Duke wrote a somewhat fulsome letter 
to the Pope, thanking him for his '' singular benignity, 
liberaUty, grace, humanity and ineffable charity."* 

While in Rome, Don Alfonso had probably seen in the 
palace of S.Maria in Portico a young girl whose name was]des- 
tined in after years to be linked — somewhat ambiguously— 
with his own: Madonna Lucrezia Borgia. We are fortunately 
not here concerned with the family affairs of the House 
of Borgia, save in so far as they touch those of the princes 
of the House of Este. Suffice it to say that, when her father 
was elected Pope, Lucrezia was between twelve and thirteen 
years old, four years younger than her formidable brother 
Cesare.^ Her mother, the Roman Vannozza Catand, had 
taken as second husband a Mantuan humanist. Carlo Canale, 
in i486. The Pope had placed his daughter— whom 
he loved, as the Ferrarese ambassador in Rome, Gian 
Andrea Boccaccio, Bishop of Modena, wrote to Ercole, in 
superlativo grado — ^under the chaige of his kinswoman, 
Adriana dei Mila, the widow of Lgdovico Orsini. In the 
same palace, Ukewise under the protecting wing of this 

* Venturi, UArte Ferrarese nel periodo di Ercoie /, iL p. 415. 

* Gregorovius, Lucrexia Borgia , document 8. 

' According to the documents found by Gregorovius, Lucreaa 
was born on April 18, 1480, andCesarein 1476. 

230 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

serviceable lady, lived a girl some four or five years older 
than Lucrezia, whose magnificent head of hair excited 
universal admiration in the Eternal City ; this was Donna 
Giulia Famese, ostensibly the young wife of Adriana*s son 
Ursino, in reality the mistress of the Sovereign Pontiff himself. 
When a mere Cardinal, Alexander had been contented with 
a Spanish noble for his daughter, and had found her a 
prospective husband in the young Count of Aversa, Don 
Gaspare da Procida. But now a great Italian alliance 
seemed desirable. Don Gasparo came to Rome after the 
Pope's accession to claun his bride, only to find another 
competitor in the field, in the person of Giovanni, Count 
of Cottignola and tyrant of Pesaro, an illegitimate son of 
Costanzo Sf orza. The Magnifico Giovanni had previously 
been married to Maddalena Gonzaga, sister to the Marchese 
Gian Francesco, who had died in childbirth. In the follow- 
ing June, 1493, the marriage between Giovanni Sforza and 
Lucrezia Borgia was formaUy celebrated in Rome, and 
the Holy Father was much delighted with the present of 
richly-worked plate that Ercole sent on this occasion.^ 

Even before the death of Innocent VIII, Lodovico Sforza 
had been in treaty with the French. Beatrice, intensely 
ambitious for his sake and her own, was urging him to make 
himself Duke of Milan in very deed, and he anticipated dire 
opposition from Naples. In January, 1492, he had been 
holding long and secret conferences with the French ambassa- 
dors, had shown great jubilation at the result, and professed 
a desire to speak in secret with Ercole. The concert of the 
Italian Powers was dearly breaking up ; in May, Jacopo 

1 It was then that Boccaccio, writing to Ercole, used the oft- 
repeated phrase concerning Giulia Famese : Madonna Julia de 
Famese, de qua est tanius sermo, Gregorovius, document 10. 

231 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Trotti, watching the game at Milan, informed Ercole 
that it would take little to bring about a direct rupture 
between Milan and Naples.* Under pretext of a vow, 
Ercole went to Milan in July, and had a long interview'with 
Lodovico, whose ambassador in France, Carlo di Belgiojoso, 
was manifestly doing all in his power to bring about a French 
invasion of Italy — on the grounds, it will be remembered, 
of reviving the old claims of the House of Anjou upon the 
Kingdom of Naples. 

The supposed slight inflicted upon Lodovico by Naples 
and Florence at the coronation of Pope Alexander, when 
King Ferrante, at the instigation of Piero de' Medici, nega- 
tived the former's proposal that one ambassador should 
speak for all the allied Italian Powers, did little more than 
increase his desire for the coming of the invader. 
Already, in September, he had openly told Trotti to inform 
Ercole that the French King had decided upon the conquest 
of Naples, " as a thing belonging and pertaining to his 
Majesty." * A month later, Lodovico accused the Duchess 
Isabella of Milan of attempting to adnodnister a mysterious 
white powder to Galeazzo da San Severino and a certain 
Rozone, a favourite of the Duke her husband, with the 
ntention of diverting the Duke's affections from the latter, 
but which in reality was a deadly poison. Her supposed 
agents were imprisoned and put to the question. The 
Neapolitan ambassador implored Lodovico to hush the matter 
up, but the latter sent copies of the process to be read to the 
royal family of Naples and to the Pope. The old King was 
furious, declared that the whole process was a mere plot on 

1 Cf. Trotti's dispatches during January, February and May, 
1492, cited by Balan, v. pp. 377, 378. 
* Cf. Balan, v. p. 378,^note 6. 

232 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

the part of Lodovico to ruin his grandchild, and ordered his 
second son, the Prince Federigo of Altamura, who was then 
in Rome attempting to sow discord between the Pope and 
Milan, to seek an audience of the Sovereign Pontiff, and 
lay the whole blame upon the Duke of Bari, as he deserved.* 

In January, 1493, Leonora went to Milan, to assist at the 
birth of Beatrice's first child, who was bom on the 25th ; 
named first Ercole, he is better known in history as Massi- 
mUiano Sforza. For days all the bells of Milan rang, 
prisoners were released, and the whole Lombard capital 
was gay with pageants and processions. And at Ferrara 
the rejoicings were scarcely less at the reception of the good 
tidings. Ercole wrote enthusiastically to his wife, declaring 
that he rejoiced at Lodovico*s good fortime no less than if it 
had been his own. " All to-day, in token of gladness, we 
have had cannons fired and bells rung through all the city, 
with all the other demonstrations and signs of joy that befit 
such festive occasions, and we have ordained that to-morrow, 
to praise God, there be made a goodly and most solemn 
procession, and we shaU also have a solenrn Mass sung for 
the same intention." * 

Xhe birth of this little prince precipitated the catas- 
trophe. Although the statement, sometimes repeated, that 
Gian Galeazzo and his wife were barely allowed the neces- 
^Qxies of life is absolutely contradicted by the accounts 
stai preserved of their expenses in the Archives of Milan, 
it is evident that Lodovico had already usmped the State 

1 Letter from the Kmg to the Prince of Altamura, December 26, 
1492. Trinchcra, Codice Araganese, ii. i, p. 229. Cf. also the 
extracts from Trotti's dispatches, in Balan, v. p. 378. 

t Letters of January 26, 1493. Archivio di Modena, Carieggio dei 
Principi. 

233 ^ 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in everything, save the title of Duke ; all the fortresses of 
the duchy were in his hands, and the administiatioii was 
absolutely his. Exasperated at the sight and sound of 
these rejoicings, which were fai in excess of those 
that had welcomed the birth of her own son Fran- 
cesco a few years before, Isabella wrote that piteous 
and passionate appeal to her father, the Duke of Calabria, 
which may still be read in the pages of Corio, urging him 
by his paternal piety, by his love for her, by her just tears, 
by the magnanimity of a king, to deliver his son-in-law and 
daughter from this shameful servitude and restore to them 
their rightful dominion.^ Alfonso of Calabria lent a ready 
ear to his daughter's appeal and urged his father, King 
Ferrante, to maintain the cause of his grandchildren with 
arms. The rupture between the tv(p States seemed immi- 
nent. But appearances of amity were still kept up. The 
King protested again and again that the Duke of Ban had 
no reason for suspecting his dispositions and intentions 
towards him, that he was absolutely contented that he 
should keep his position in the government of the duchy, 
and that he himself was disposed to do everything pos- 
sible to preserve and augment his authority.* 

But, in truth, the desires of Lodovico went far beyond 
the throne of Milan — concerning the investiture of which he 
was soon to open negotiations with Maximilian, King of 
the Romans. He was dreaming of the acquisition for 
himself of the crown of a north Italian kingdom. In the 
April of this year, 1493, mainly through the diplomacy of 

* Storia di Milano, iii. pp. 458, 459. Is it, perbaps, possible 
that the letter is the rhetorical exercise of some humanist ? 

s Letter to Antonio da Gennaro, royal ambassador in Milan, of 
February 17, 1493. Trinchera, ii i, p. 288. 

234 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

and improbable. It seems, however, clear that Ercole knew 
of all the articles of the treaty, and accepted the place 
reserved for him in it. Among the minor Powers, the Re- 
public of Siena and the Marquis of Mantua adhered to the 
League. 

The King of Naples protested against the League— and 
still more against what he saw l5^ng behind it — by the 
mouth of Antonio da Gennaro, whom he bade use in 
speaking to Lodovico " that charity which is worthy of us 
as a father towards him whom we hold for a son.'* 
" We urge and exhort him," he wrote, " with paternal 
affection and most cordial intention, to continue in his 
ancient customs, to keep before his eyes and in his heart 
the assured and mutual friendships of the past, nor depart 
from his usual wisdom. Let him think what Italy is, where 
she is placed, the quality of the States that are in her and 
near her, and the excessive evils whereof his Excellence 
might be the cause, if she be divided. The blind can see 
whether Italy has good neighbours by sea and land." * 

Ostensibly for pleasure, in reality for purposes connected 
with the new League, Lodovico and Beatrice came to Fer- 
rara on May i8, " per puncto de astrologia,'* and had a 
most smnptuous reception. On the previous day, the news 
had just reached them that peace had been concluded 
between Charles and Maximilian, and that the former's 
hands were therefore free. There were races and tourna- 
ments, dances in the ducal gardens, and, of course, the 
inevitable Plautine comedies, without which no entertain- 
ment seemed to Ercole to be complete. A week later, the 
day and hour likewise chosen by astrology, Leonora and 

* Letter of April 24, 1493. Trinchera, ii. i, p. 376. 
236 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

null and void by the Papal G>urt. The Marchesana Isabella 
came in July to be near her mother, and stayed until 
August 10, the Duchess being utterly unable to let her 
go.* And, indeed, Leonora was destined never to see her 
favourite daughter again. 

A few da3rs later, Ercole set out for Pavia, at Lodovico's 
invitation, with a goodly company including Don Alfonso, 
and a band of young men to perform a series of comedies 
for the Sforza*s pleasure. At Pavia, which they reached 
on August 25, they were received by the two Duchesses, 
Isabella of Milan and Beatrice of Bari ; the latter was radiant 
with happiness and content, but her rival avoided the 
Ferrarese merry-makers, appearing only at the performances. 
Three comedies were played — the CapHvi, the Mercakr, 
and the Poenulus — on three successive days.* From Pavia, 
on August 30, Lodovico and Beatrice made an excursion 
to Milan with Ercole, to show him his little grandchild— or, 
as he more pompously styles it, " the most illustrious our 
nipote, son of the said Lord." They found the baby ver>' 
flourishing, tutto jocondo e piacevole, and returned next day 
to join the rest at Pavia. Here they found Alfonso ill with 
ever, and decided, although Messer Francesco da Castello, 
the Court physician, did not think it was anything serious, 
to send hitn back to Ferrara in the bucentaur. But Lodo- 
vico, as usual, thought that the stars were at work, and that 

^ See the aflFectionate letter from Isabella to her sister-in-law, the 
Duchess Elisabetta of Urbino, July 26, 1493, in Luzio and Renier, 
Mantova e Urbino ^ p. 67. Elisabetta Gonzaga had married Duke 
Guidobaldoin 1488. 

s Cf . Luzio and Renier, DbIU Relajeiani di Isabella d* EsU Gonzaga 
con Lodovico c Beatrice Sforza, pp. 379, 380. As one of the actors 
was Lodovico Ariosto, I shall return to these festivities on another 
occasion. 

238 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

four gentlemen '^ who have continually to eat with our son, 
because such is the custom in France and it will be an honour- 
able thing." The numbers of attendants of all kinds are 
carefully defined, and the horses and mules to be appointed 
to each. Lodovico, indeed, had hinted that the thing was 
being done on too lavish a scale, and suggested that forty 
horses and mules would be enough ; '' but we thought that 
they should be forty-six, in order that he may go more 
honourably." For his own person, Ercole thinks his son 
is well supplied with horses ; but he is content to give him 
two of his own, one of which, " Reale," was given him by 
the King [of Naples ?] and the other, " Roseghino," is good 
for exercising in the tilt-yard. Besides all these, four 
Ferrarese gentlemen, including Count Giovanni Boiardo 
and Messer Giulio Tassoni, are to accompany him and then 
return, and Lodovico will send Galeazzo Visconti well 
attended ; '* so that in his going there will be about eighty 
horses, and in this way we think that the company will be 
honourable, both in respect of those who are to stay with 
our son, and those who are to accompany him and then 
to return hither." * 

But, after this had gone on for a few days, the poor 
Duchess wrote piteously that she was really too ill to attend 
to any provision for Ferrando*s departure, and Ercole put 
it into the hands of his brother Sigismondo instead, as he 
was anxious that there should be no delay. " Every day 
that at present is lost seems to us to be worth ten, considering 
that the bad weather is at hand with the winter." As to 
the day of the prince's starting, Leonora piously suggested 
that the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi would be suitable ; 

1 Minute Ducali. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio dei Principi, 

240 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

but both Ercole and Lodovico scouted the notion, and 
thought that a " lucky " day was needed for his affairs to 
prosper. Let her wait until Lodovico has heard from 
Maestro Ambrosio, to whom he has written to send them a 
good day.* 

Meanwhile, to Ercole*s unbounded delight and mainly 
through Lodovico's influence, Ippolito had been raised to 
the Cardinalate in the consistory of September 20. His 
most reverend and illustrious lordship was not fifteen years 
old, and was still in his Hungarian archbishopric. Among 
the Cardinak simultaneously created (not to mention our 
own Archbishop Morton of Canterbury and others as worthy 
of the purple) were Cesare Borgia and Giulia's brother, 
Alessandro Famese, " il cardinale della gonnella." Ippolito 
was the first of the House of Este to reach this dignity, and 
Ercole bade Leonora have public rejoicings all over the 
Duchy for this good tidings. In writing to her son, he 
instructed her, for the honour of the House, to address the 
letter " Cardinali Estensi," instead of " Cardinali Strigoni- 
ensi," as the more usual custom demanded.' 

A few days later, an urgent letter from Sigismondo reached 
Ercole, telling him that Leonora had been growing steadily 
worse for three days. Ercole would have hurried to her 
bedside at the reception of the news— but Lodovico inter- 
posed with his astrology : " As soon as we received your 
letter, we should have started to come at once to Ferrara ; 
but, because the conjunction of the moon will take place the 
day after to-morrow, it has seemed to the most illustrious 

* Letters of September 21 and October 2, I493> to Leonora. 
AicluviodiModena,/o..«/. 

A-etters of September 22 and 26. Archivio di Modena, CarUggio 
«« Prtncipi. 

241 



') 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Lord Lodovico that we ought not to set out, because oi 
that combustion." Nevertheless, he will hasten his depar- 
ture, going from Milan by Pavia to Cremona, and from 
Cremona to Ferrara by ship, sending the horses by 
land by way of Mantua. At Cremona he will take leave 
of Don Ferrando, who is already on his way, and then 
hasten to Ferrara to see his wife.* He came too late, arriv- 
ing at Ferrara on October 12, only to find that Leonora had 
died on the previous day. A messenger, who had been sent 
to hurry him, had missed him on the way. 

All Ferrara believed she had died like a saint, consoled 
with celestial visions. She was buried quietly in the convent 
of the Corpus Domini, and the funeral was followed by 
numerous religious services for the repose of her soul, with 
great donations to the poor of the city. Ferrando hurried 
back to Ferrara, but was too late to be present at the funeral, 
and left again at once.' 

*' Not without grief of heart,'* wrote Ercole to Ippolito, 
" do we inform you that your dearest mother and our most 
illustrious consort yesterday evening, at about the twenty- 
third hour, died, having first received all the sacraments oi 
Holy Church with the greatest contrition and devotion, and 
in full possession of her senses, hearing and speaking of 
spiritual and devout things. You must this time bear 
yourself in such a way that you be reputed a wise and pni- 

* Letter to Sigismondo d' Este, of October 8, 1493. Archivio di 
Modena, Carteggio dei Principi. 

* Diario Ferrarese, coll. 286, 287. All contemporaries bear 
witness to Leonora's rare qualities of heart and mind, her boundless 
charity ; '* Acts," writes Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti, '* that 
would make the adamantine gates of Paradise freely open " (Gyne- 
vera de le Clare Donne, ed. C. Ricci and A. Bacchi della Lega, 
p. 401). For her library, composed almost entirely of mystical 
books, see Bertoni, op, cit,, Appendix II. (i). 

242 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 

dent Cardinal, a man and not a youth, and of a great soul 
and not weak, able to be steadfast in adversity as temperate 
in prosperity. Verily, this is a case to give evidence of the 
virtue of your disposition and of the constancy that a prelate 
of your rank should have, and one raised to such a dignity 
as is the Cardinalate." * 

It is from the letters of the King of Naples that we realize 
what Leonora was to the State, and, indeed, in her he 
tad lost his last friend in the counsels of the Powers of 
northern Italy. Besides the formal letter of condolence 
which he sent to the Duke, he wrote to his ambassador at 
Milan, Antonio da Gennaro, as though Ercole were reduced 
to helplessness by the loss. At the same time, reading 
bet>«^een the lines, we see that he was prepared to take advan- 
tage of the occasion, to produce bad blood between Milan 
and Venice : — 

" In consequence of the death of the Duchess of Ferrara, 
our daughter, we have thought well to speak plainly with 
the ducal orator concerning the peril in which Ferrara. 
stands from the Venetians, smce the Duke is of the nature 
and age that he is, and the Venetians have the disposition 
that they have to take it for themselves. And, therefore, 
we have spoken right clearly, that he should urge the Duke 
of Ban to look to it and protect it, as he ought, since he is so 
near and bound by the duty of blood, both as son of the 
r>uke and as father of his children. We have enlarged 
much upon this, for it seems to us that there is crying need ; 
and, because we feel certain that the Duke of Bari wifl make 

^Minute of October 12, Archivio di Modena, CarUggio dei Pnnctf>^^ 
Malipiero's story of Leonora having been poisoned at Ercolc's ordeira 
IS a mere Venetian calumny, as absurd as it is atrocious. It: is 
amazing to find that it is adopted by so serious a writer as Burolc. 
barat. 



243 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

irierchandise of this thing with the Venetian orator, 
we send you another letter together with the present, in 
order that you may in some discreet way come to speak 
with the Venetian orator in the tenor that is contained in 
the said letter, in order that, when he writes to Venice 
according to what the Duke of Bari will tell him, he may- 
go more cautiously and not give too much faith to the words 
of the said Duke." * 

The Marquis of Mantua had hurried to Ferrara on receipt 
of the ill tidings, but for some days the news was concealed 
from Isabella, who was expecting the birth of her child. 
On October 15, Benedetto Capilupo, her secretary, wrote to 
the Marquis : " She began to perceive that she was being 
deceived, as she kept her eye upon every one, because it 
was eight days to-day since she had letters from Ferrara, 
and also because for three nights, according to what she has 
said, she had dreamed of the blessed soul of Madama." ^ 
She heard at last by way of Milan, and controlled her grief 
for her child's sake, much consoled by the presence of her 
dearest friend and more than sister, the Duchess Elisabetta. 
On the last day of this year Isabella gave birth to a daughter, 
to whom the name Leonora was given. " I shall renew in 
her," wrote the Marchesana, " the name of the blessed 
memory of my most excellent mother ; '* but, in ccmi- 

1 Letter of October 20, 1493. The other letter simply bids him 
commend Ferrara to Lodovico. Ferrante wrote similarly to 
Carlo Rugieri, his ambassador at Venice, bidding him reconmiend 
the affairs of Ferrara and of Alfonso to the Republic, but with 
dexterity, ** showing that we are acting from love and confidence, 
not from any suspicion." Trinchera, ii. 2, pp. 282, 283^ 286, 288. 
The thing was a clumsy piece of diplomacy, probably due to the 
iact that the old King himself was breaking down.. 

3 Luzio and Renier, Delle Relazioni di Isabella d* EsU Gcnzaga con 
Lodovico e Beatrice Sforxa, p. 381. 

244 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 
municating the news to her father and sister, she did not 
conceal her disappointment. It is ominous, in view of the 
great political tempest that was at hand, that the Gon^a 
invited Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici— the enemy of 
Piero and head of the French faction in Florence— to act as 
godfather to "our little one," and he was represented in 
Mantua by his more noted brother Giovanni/ 

On November 30 the marriage of Lodovico*s niece, 
Bianca Maria Sforza, with Maximilian, King of the Romans, 
was celebrated at Milan— the bridegroom being represented 
by his two ambassadors, the Bishop of Brixen and Giovanni 
Buontempo. "AU the streets from the Castie to the 
Duomo being decked and covered with the finest draper- 
ies,'* writes G)rio, " Bianca with Lodovico's wife Beatrice, 
tnounted upon a triumphal chariot drawn by four pure white 
horses, was brought to the Duomo accompanied by the 
aforesaid ambassadors, by Gian Galeazzo, Lodovico 
Sforza, with all the feudatories of his empery, a goodly 
ntimber of damsels, and by the more notable citizens. And 
when they had there heard the divine offices, by the two 
ambassadors with the fitting ceremonies was Bianca, in 
7T^ name of the most serene King Maximilian, wedded as 
bride ; after which, crowned as Queen and mounted on 
norseback, in the midst of the public joy, she returned 
to the Castle, and after two days she set out to go to her 
desired spouse in Germany." « 

r^c^t^ ^u"^ ^^^ Renier, MatUova e Urhino, pp. 68, note 3, 69, 
Xours wrab* ^^^ in this January, 1494, that Gentile Becchi from 
sa.n?ue -L ^ ^«ro concerning these two : *• Insino nel proprio 

» sLT t!^^**« insidiatori " (Desjardins, i. p. 359). 
March^aT^^^^'i^P-533. A long letter from Beatrice to tlx^ 
and ]R«r^ ^^>eUa, describing the marriage, will be found m LuzIq 
EmI^^iL *** i?«/«t<m» di IsabeUa tTEste, e<c..pp. 384-388. and is 
uuuMea by Mrs. Ady, op. cU.,pp. 21 1-2 16. 

245 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Needless to say that Bianca's dowry of 400,000 ducats of 
gold was the bait wherewith the needy King of the Rcmians 
had been caught. Lodovico protested that by this union 
he himself would be tanquam gMinum of the peace between 
Charles and Maximilian.* But no one knew what wodd 
happen next, nor what the chief Italian States intended ; 
no one trusted the Pope ; the Florentines were anxious to 
keep neutral, though Piero favoured the Aragcmese and 
there was a pro-French party ; the Venetians anticipated 
nothing but gain to themselves from the sufferings of the 
rest of Italy ; Ferrante still clung to the hope that Lodovico 
might unite with him in repelling the French invasion. 

*^ In such disposition of men's minds and in such con- 
fusion of affairs, all tending to new perturbations, began 
the year 1494," writes Guicdardini, " a year most unhappy 
for Italy, and in very sooth the first year of miserable years; 
for it opened the gate to innumerable and horrible calamities, 
of which it can be said that, through diverse accidents, a 
great part of the world afterwards shared in them." On 
January 17, Gentile Becchi announced to Piero de* Medici 
that the die was cast, and that the enterprise would certainly 
go forward. " If this i¥ar is checked in the Milanese district 
(for there will be no other opposition down to Naples), all 
Italy will take arms with Milan, I can tell you. But it must 
be lost or won. If it be lost, it is all up with Italy ; iutla 
a bofdeUoy ■ " What is the use of your warning the Lord 
Lodovico," he wrote a few days later, " of the danger in 
which he is putting himself and others ? Do you think 
that he does not know it ? You will make him more 

^ Letter from Francesco della Casa to Piero de' Medici, Novem- 
ber 9, 1493. Desjardins, i. p. 261 . 
' Letttr of January 17, 1494. Desjardins, i. p. 357. 

246 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 
obstinate in his course, to make it seem that he has not 
made a mistake, or else he wiU send your letters here." * 
Sick to death with apprehension, almost with his dying 
hand. King Ferrante wrote the epistle which may be read at 
length in the *<CodiceAragonese," announcing the downfall, 
not of his own House alone, but of all Italy : " Never did the 
x^rench come into Italy without working her utter ruin, and 
^is coming is of such a kind that it can clearly be seen to 
involve miiversal ruin, though it seems to threaten only us 
who are seeking, not merely to defend ourselves, but to 
^^^rt *he ruin."* He died on January 25, and was suc- 
ceeded by that Alfonso, whom we have hitherto known as 
the rhike of Calabria. On January 30, Gentile Becchi 
informed Piero that the King of France was coming in 
person to the enterprise of Naples. " See what a stranger 
we shall bring you home ; see what a nag the Lord Lodo- 
vico has bought for himself from over here."' "You 
are always talking to me of this Italy," quoth II More, 
'• and for my part I never saw her m the face." * In March, 
Charles arrived at Lyons, to take supreme conmaand of the 
army. The Duke of Orleans with the French fleet reached 
Genoa; the Neapolitan fleet under the Prince of Altamura, 
I>on Federigo, approached the Gulf of Speaa. 

Nevertheless, some of the actors in this great historic 
Ji^^ama found time for lighter amusements. " When I took 
leave of Madame de Bourbon," wrote Francesco della Casa 
to Piero de' Medici, " she called me back and told me to 
write to you for a civet-cat, that is the animal that makes 

a rf+^^ ^'^^ ^^^'^ o* January 22, 1494. Desjardins, i. P- 359- 
^i-etterof January 17, 1494. Trinchera, ii. 2, p. 421. The fateful 
^''^j^ ^ through the passage like a re^ 

* VillAri xr''^'^^^ 30, 1494. Desjardins, i. p. 3^. 
^' ^^ccold MachiaveUi, i. document i . 

247 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

civet. I answered her that it was not found in those parts, 
but that, if there was one in Italy or elsewhere, your Magnifi- 
cence would send it her. And when I told her that I re- 
membered having seen some at Naples, she said to me that 
on no account would she have the King of Naples send her 
any. I answered that, either from Naples or from wherever 
it might be, you yourself would send her one, and so she 
prases your Magnificence to do, and she ssys that she has 
heard that there are some in Ferrara." * 

Ercole followed with paternal affection all his son's 
actions in France, and kept up a constant correspondence 
with him. He was delighted to hear of the gracious reception 
he had received from the King and Queen, and luged him 
to follow up this good beginning with diligence and pru- 
dence. He thanks him for the news of the Court, touching 
the bearing of the King towards the Spanish ambassador 
and his disposition to attend to the enterprise of the King- 
dom of Naples. Hearing that it would be well to present 
some " cose odorifere " to the King and Queen, but finding 
himself too badly provided with such things to be able to 
make such a present to their Royal Majesties as would be 
worthy of them and him, he sends him by the Count Bal- 
dissera da Montecuccolo "three grains of musk, two small, 
which are set as you will see, and one large one which is 
not otherwise set." " We are sending them to you in order 

* Letter of January 14, 1494, from Tours. Desjardins, i. p. 269- 
This " Madama de Bourbon " is, of course, Anne of Bcaujeu, who, 
a few years before, had tried to wheedle Piero's father out of bis 
giraffe (see Armstrong, Lor^tuo de* Medici, pp. 232, 235). ^ 
December 3', 1493, Francesco della Casa had written from Amboise : 
" At this moment the Duke of Ferrara has entered, with about a 
hundred horses, right honourably, and the King will give him a good 
provision " (Desjardins, i. p. 267). This is obviously a slip for Don 
Ferrando. 

248 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 



at you may be able to make presents with them on your 
^:>^wn account {da vui ve ne poiiate fare honore), showing 
•*">iat you have had something from home. Those two little 
OTies you can give, if you thmk fit, to two of those principal 
great ladies, one for instance to the Duchess of Bourbon, 
and the other to the Duchess of Orleans, and that bigger one 
you could give from yourself to that most serene Queen, 
vdthout giving it in our name. We have not thought well to 
have it set, because we do not quite know the way they have 
over there of setting such things. And so, likewise, you 
could give to his Majesty two horns of civet, which we are 
sending you by the said Count Baldissera, in the way that 
ive have told you." He sends him other odours and per- 
fxunes to dispose of as he likes ; two falcons for himself ; 
certain ** goodly moulds of cheese " and salame. If he 
gives these latter away, he must do it as from himself, and 
not present them in the Duke's name.* But presently 
comes a paternal lecture. His Excellence is very much 
displeased to hear that his son gives himself much to ease, 
and does not use fitting diligence " in following and serving 
the Majesty of that Most Christian King." He has sent 
him to France that he may make himself good for some- 
thing, and urges him to throw all his soul into the service of 
the King. " We know that you have plenty of talent and 
that yon know what your duty is, and that, if you wish, you 
can do yourself credit." * 

It vras probably in April that the people of Ferrara began 
t:o realize what was on foot. A French ambassador had 

^ AlinuU Ducali to Don Feirando, January 14, February 15, ^^> 
^7» ^4^4- Arcbivio di Modcna, Carteggio dei Principi. The two 
last may be said to give a Renaissance anticipation of the modern 
E^xiplisli schoolboy's hamper from home. 

X-etter of April 8, 1494. Arcbivio di Modena, he, cit. 

249 R 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

arrived, with some sixty persons in his train ; he stayed a 
couple of days, the Duke escorting him on his way with 
great state and ceremony. " There was much talk about 
the war," writes the Diarist, " and it was said that this 
ambassador had come about it." * 

Ercole, in spite of the Pope's threat to excommunicate 
him if he did so, had promised to allow the French forces 
with their Italian allies to pass through his duchies of Reggio 
and Modena, and to supply them with provisions at a suit- 
able price. This was, however, only a small portion of the 
invading army — those merely who were to pass through 
Romagna and enter the Abruzzi across the Tronto. At the 
end of July, the passage began ; first came five hundred 
Italians, under the Count of Caiazzo. They grossly mal- 
treated the people on their way, and, when a larger force of 
the " men-at-arms of France and Milan " prepared to march 
through in August, Ercole wrote emphatically to Lodovico, 
describing the terror of his subjects, urging him instantly 
to write to the Count of Caiazzo to take measures to prevent 
a repetition of these outrages.' 

In September, Charles himself arrived at Asti. Lodovico 
and Ercole met him, knelt and kissed his hand, while the 
ungainly little monarch remained mounted. At Asti the 
King lingered a month, laid up with what is charitably 
supposed to have been smallpox. In October he begasi 
his advance, Ercole presenting him with richly-worked 
tents and pavilions. At Pavia, the hapless Duchess Isabella 
threw herself at the royal feet, imploring protection for her 
husband, mercy for her kindred of Naples. It is too late, 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 288. ^. 

a He wrote also on the same day to Trotti, urging him to see ti» 
the letter to the Count was worded eflfectually and sent at on 
Archivio di Modena, Minutario Cronologico, August 2, i494- 

250 



IN THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM 
muttered the Most Christian King. Hardly had he passed 
on, than Duke Gian Galeazzo died. Lodovico, on receipt 
of the tidings, left the King at Piacenza and hurried to 
MUan, to have himself proclaimed Duke. The King, anx- 
ious and suspicious, waited a few days at Piacenza, then 
proceeded on his way through Lunigiana and Tuscany. 
The story of his triumphal march, the collapse of the Ara- 
gonese resistance, the flight of Piero de* Medici, the entry 
into Florence and Rome, need not be repeated here. 

On the news that Gian Galeazzo was dying, Ercole had 
hastened to Milan, to lend his assistance in securing the 
succession for Lodovico and Beatrice. On his way, he 
addressed a severe rebuke to Don Alfonso, whom he 
had left at Ferrara, as regent :— 

** To-day, before we started from Ferrara, we asked for 
yon, and had search made for you, because we wished to 
give you some directions and to tell you how you were to 
Dear yourself in our absence ; and we could not have you, 
because you had gone out of the town. This thing has 
greatly displeased us, because, while we were at Ferrara, you 
ought not to have gone away, nor done such things without 
our express leave. And, therefore, we have thought well to 
write this letter to you at once, to tell you that in this 
absence of ours you must govern yourself better than you 
<dicl last month, when we went into Lombardy ; for you did 
exactly the contrary to what we committed to you. Our 
intention was that you should give audience and that you 
should eat in public, in such wise that all the people could see 
you and speak to you ; but you ate in secret and in remote 
places, showing that you had little care for the business 
that you should have had at heart, and also that you did 
not much esteem our commissions. You can beUeve that: 

251 



'J 1 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

this has offended us. Therefore, while we are away, you 
must govern yourself properly, giving audience to the people 
and eating in public, and attending to the examinations 
ordered, and doing all those other things which are befitting 
to you and which you know to be our will, so that we may 
hear a different report of you from what we heard the other 
time. If you do so, you will do your duty, and a thing 
which will be pleasure to us and honour to yourself ; whereas 
if you do otherwise, we shall be very angry with you and 
grievously offended thereat. Remember that we shall hear 
right well how you behave yourself, just as we heard that 
other time." * 

But we must turn now to the noblest victim of this year 
of shame, to Ercole*s Governor in Reggio, Matteo Maria 
Boiardo. 

1 Letter dated Finale, October 20, 1494. Archivio di Modena, 
Minutario Cronologico, Gian Galeazzo died on the morning of 
October 2 1 . His contemporaries for the most part believed that he 
had been poisoned by Lodovico, but this is no longer accepted by 
modem historians. 



252 



Chapter VIII 
MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

Q^CANDIANO lies some eight miles south-east of Reggio, 
^^ at the very foot of the Apemiines, where the Tresinaro 
flows down from the hills to swell presently the Secchia 
near Rubiera. The little town itself, with its quiet streets 
and arcaded square, is quaint and picturesque. The whole 
oi one comer of it is occupied by the Rocca, the great castle 
of its feudal counts. Built originally after the middle of 
the thirteenth century by Giberto Fogliani, it sheltered 
Petrarca in 1343, when on his way to Reggio from Parma, 
^d in the following centuries was enlarged by the Boiardi, 
ixito whose hands it came in 1423. Scandiano is backed 
l>y pleasant hills, upon one of which stands the " Torricella/' 
known now as the Castello Cugini, where the greatest of 
the Boiardi hved and wrote in the sunmier months. Climb 
a. little higher, and suddenly a complete revelation breaks 
upon you of the whole sweeping chain of Apennines to 
south and west, whfle below your feet the great cities of the 
Emilian plain appear here and there, just visible in the 
misty distance. This enchanted spot should be visited on 
a bright summer morning. The whole hillside is quick witlx 
the flight of swarms of great butterflies— black and goldeix 
Machaon mingling with its swifter, paler cousin, tiger- 
striped PodaUrius, in mimic warfare. In these paladiixs 

253 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

of the insect world a believer in the transmigration of souls 
might almost dream that he saw the fantastic glittering 
heroes of whom Reggio's two poets sang. 

The Boiardi were citizens of Reggio and feudal lords of 
Rubiera until 1423, when Feltrino Boiardo — whom we have 
already met — ceded the latter lordship to the Marchese 
Niccold and received Scandiano instead, with other smafler 
townlets and the title of Count. Feltrino married 
Guiduccia, the daughter of Count Gherardo da Correggio, 
by whom he had two sons, Giovanni and Giulio Ascanio. 
Giovanni married Lucia Strozzi, the sister of Tito Va- 
pasiano, by whom he had one son, Matteo Maria, and four 
daughters; Giulio Ascanio married Cornelia Taddea, the 
sister of Marco Pio da Carpi, by whom he had a son, Gio- 
vanni. One of Feltrino's daughters, Giulia, married Gian 
Francesco Pico della Mirandola, who made her the mother 
of the famous Giovanni and of Galeotto Pico. Two others 
married into the Rangoni family of Modena. 

Matteo Maria Boiardo was bom, like Dante, under the 
constellation of the Gemini (as he tells us in one of his 
soimets) in the early summer of 1434, probably in the castle 
of Scandiano, where his grandfather kept a splendid Court, 
the Boiardi being famous for their hospitality. - The greater 
part of the poet's boyhood was passed in Ferrara and its 
neighbourhood. Leonello d' Este had made the Count 
Giovanni independent of his father, by granting him certain 
tolls and duties which had hitherto been reserved to the 
Crown in the townlets of Feltrino's fief ; and on Giovanni's 
death, in 1452, Borso— who, on the occasion of his triumph 
progress through his duchies, stayed at Scandiano as 
guest of the Boiardi, and renewed Feltrino's investiture, a 
ing Casalgrande and other places to his fiefs — confinnea 

254 



1- 
t 
I 

MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

privilege to Matteo Maria, The old Count and Countess 
appear to have resented this; and in their wills {Feltrino 
died in 1456, Guiduccia in 1457), on the plea that this em- 
barrassed the feudatory, they compelled Matteo Maria to 
share these profits with his unde, Ginlio Ascanio, under 
pain of losing his portion of the inheritance.* Throughout 
the pMDet's Hfe, there seems to have been this bad feeling, 
blading out at intervals, at other times latent, between him 
and his father's family ; while his relations with his mother*s 
houscj the Strozzi, were always of the most cordial character, 1 
His uncle appears to have governed the fiefs after Fel- 
trino's death, and the young poet is completely ignored in 
all the official letters of the Boiardi. He probably fell much 
under the influence of Tito Vespasiano Strozzi, and perhaps 
spent these years in Ferrara, with the humanists and cour- 
tiers. In February, 1460 — on the death of Giulio Ascanio 

he first comes forward as the feudal lord, Comes Scan- 

diani d Casalgrandis, in a letter to Count Silvio di San 

Bonifazio, Captain of Reggio, announcing the death of Itlxs 

uncle, or, as lie puts it, " that it hath pleased our Creator ^' 

to call to Himself the blessed soul of my good father, 

Messer Giulio," ^ But even now Giulio's widow, the Countess 

Coinelia Taddea, an ambitious and overbearing woman. 

shared the title and the administration of the fiefs of the 

House. 

Boiardo appears to have passed the next eight or nine 
years of his life mainly at Scandiano, in the midst of ttie 
s*=™eiy he so loved, playing the part of feudal lord, 

* These details from G. Ferrari, JVejIm* della vita di Matteo B^^^ia 
atnardo^ ^ the Studi su Matteo Maria Boiardo, pp. 6-9- 

l-etter of February 8, 1460. Campanini. p. 367. CasalgrsLnde 
13 a sman pla^e south of Scandiano, just off the road to Sasauolo, at 
the foot Of the hills. 

255 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

hunting and entertaining, and much engaged in the som^ 
what prosaic affairs of the waters of the Secchia — a standing 
source of contention between the Boiardi and the Commune 
of Reggio, which latter city derived its water supply from 
a canal from that stream. " This water is our very life," 
the Ancients wrote to Cornelia Taddea some years later. A 
further complication was added by Cornelia's kinsmen, 
the Pio of Carpi, who also disputed the rights of the 
good citizens of Reggio. There is still extant a whole 
series of Boiardo's letters connected with this dispute, 
which on his part was always conducted with the utmost 
generosity and courtesy. On one occasion the matter 
was referred to Duke Borso himself, who wrote back, some- 
what sharply, that the disputants must settle the thing 
promptly, and not trouble him about it. Only two letters 
from Boiardo to Borso have been preserved. One, of 
September, 1462, concerns the question of the canal ; the 
other, of February, 1466, excuses the writer for not having 
already gone to explain to Borso by word of mouth " about 
the affair of those women," on the grounds that "the 
Magnificent Count Giovanni Francesco della Mirandola, 
my uncle, has written to me that he wishes to come to 
Scandiano for a few das^s to amuse himself, and so I have 
been expecting him," * Although high in favour with the 
Duke, whose benign bearing towards himself he records 
in one of his sonnets, a far warmer devotion united 
Boiardo with Ercole d' Este. After the recall of the latter 
from Naples in 1462 and his appointment as ducal governor 
of the Duchy of Modena, Boiardo was a constant visitor 
to the latter city, as also to the smaller Court that Sigis- 
mondo held in Reggio. In January, 1469, he was sunMnoned 
* Letter of February 15, 1466. Campanini, p. 378. 
256 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

to Ferrara to form part of the escort of the Emperor 
Frederick, returning to Scandiano before the begimiing 
of April. 

This appears to have been a bright and peaceful epoch 
in Boiardo*s life. To it belong his first two works : the 
Latin eclogues, or Pastaralia ; the Italian lyrics, or Can- 
zoniere. 

The Pastaralia are Boiardo's first attempts to win the 
Muses. They are ten in number, according to the Virgilian 
precedent, and show a closer imitation of Virgil's eclogues 
than we find in Dante's correspondence with Giovanni del 
Virgilio or in the Latin poetry of Petrarca. They appear 
to have been composed between 1458 and 1463, the latter 
date appearing from the references to the return of Ercole 
and his presence at Modena. The subjects are partly 
amorous, partly political and heroic, dealing with the 
pacific reign of Borso and the martial exploits of Ercole in 
Apialia. Perhaps the most remarkable is the fourth, 
entitled VasUicomafUia, a kind of imitation of VirgU^s 
famous PoUio, in which the golden age of Borso's rule is 
depicted in glowing colours, and a gUmpse is shown in the 
hackground of the struggle between Aragonese and Angevin 
*or the possession of the Regno, with the Turkish Hydra 
lurking in the distance. The tenth, Orpheus, is in an 
exceedingly laudatory strain, addressed to Ercole himself, 
offering up the httle collection to him, promising greater 
poetic gifts in the future. It is hard to blame adulation, 
when friendship and admiration alike are so genuine and 
sincere. 

The Canzoniere, that comes next in the chronologioal 
order of Boiardo's work, is a far more remarkable achieve- 
ment. In its rhythmic variety and lyrical beauty, it i© 

257 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

the finest collection of love poems written by any Italian 
during the fifteenth century. The love that it sets forth is 
mainly of the most chivalrous and ideal description ; there 
is considerably less of tangible yearning than we find, for 
instance, in Petrarca's Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta. The 
object of the Coxmt's admiration appears undoubtedly to 
have been a real woman, Antonia Caprara, who was prob- 
ably Antonia di Bartolommeo Caprari, a girl of Reggio 
who was bom in 1451, and whom he worships thus in song 
from April, 1469 (the real or fictitious date of the beginning 
of his love being the fourth of that month), until the spring 
of 1471. At times he turns to celebrating the beauties of 
a mysterious Rosa^ which is most probably not the name of 
a woman (as some have supposed), but merely a poetic 
s3rmbol for Antonia. Two other ladies are addressed in 
some of the poems, as confidantes of his devotion for Antonia : 
Marietta and Ginevra Strozzi, the former being the wife of 
Teofilo Calcagnino. These lyrics are divided into three 
books, Amorum Lihri ; the first deals with the poet's joys in 
love ; the second with his sorrows ; in the third, old desires 
are overcome, and he gradually passes out of the amorous 
prison-house into another field. They consist of sonnets, 
various kinds of canzoni, different forms of madrigals, and 
other lyrics of peculiar metrical structure, some of them of 
considerable length and great originality. They show com- 
parativdy httle of the frigid conventions and mannerisms 
of the Petrarchists, but are for the most part as fresh and 
musical as the best lyrical work of the poets of the dalce 
stil nuovo. And for so learned a poet and one so steeped m 
classicism, so in touch with the hmnanists, Boiardo's use 
of mythology is refreshingly sparing and never dragged m 
for mere parade. He is already dreaming of enchanted 

258 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

S^^ardens and eternal spring, in the spirit of his coming 

^■romance. 

The larger lyrics are, perhaps, his greatest achievement in 
±his kind/ For our present purpose it must suffice to 
quote two sonnets. The one gives admirable expression 
to the first exultation of the successful lover : — 

Qualunque piti de amar fu schiffo in pria, 

E dal camin de Amor piii dilungato, 

Cognosca 1' alegreza del mio stato, 

E tornerase a la amorosa via. 
Qua^lunque in terra ha piU quel ch' ei disia, 

T>i iorza, senno, e di belleza ornato ; 

Qualunque sia nel mondo piU beato/ 

Non se pareggia a la fortuna mia. 
Clid il legiadro desire, e la vaghezza 

Clie dentro mi riluce nel pensiero, 

Me fan tra V altre gente singulare. 
Xal che io non stimo la indica richeza, 

N^ del gran re di Scyti il vasto impero, 
Che un sol piacer de amor non pud aguagliare.* 



^ See, for instance, Cam. Ixxxii., addressed to the Strozzi ladies, 

and the peculiarly constructed Canx. civ. It may here be observed 

tiiai: ixx tlie British Museum MS. (£gfr<on MS., 1999), dated January 

4> 1477— a. manuscript which was probably written under the poet's 

personal superintendence, or at least at his commands (cf . Solerti 

^eF^oes%B Volgari e Latine di M. M. Boiardo, p. xiv.)— the metrical 

^j^xntions and other Latin titles are not prefixed to the poems. 

xnese nibncs and headings do, however, appear in the Bodleian 

^'^^^Slf"^ (No- 47 in Mortara's catalogue), as also in the adiHo 

^prxnoeps CReggio, j^^^j^ and may plausibly be referred to Boiardo 

nimseu. Besides the " esemplari rarissimi " cited by Solerti {pp. 

4, ?^"wTh^*^' ^^^ ^ * ^°Py °* **^ edition in the GrenviUe Library. 

♦V. y^oso before shunned loving most, and kept furthest ofE from 

-tue pat;^of Love, let him know the bliss of my state, and he will 

""^"^^^^ ^« amorous way. 

. J^'^^^^o^ earth hath most what he desires, adorned with power, 
wisdom and beauty, whoso in the world is most blessed, cannot 
"^"^^csr^"^ ^y good fortune. 

^^t-or tne gallant desire, and the loveliness that within me glows 
•liKat T^«+^^ bought, make me stand alone among mankind ; so 
xnat 1 esteem not the wealth of India, nor the vast empire of the 

359 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

The other repeats, but with an entirely different accent, 
a note already struck in one of the most justly celebrated 
canzoni of Petrarca : — 

Ecco la pastorella mena al piano 

La bianca torma eh' 6 sotto sua guarda^ 

Vegendo il Sol calare, e V ora tarda, 

£ fumar V alte ville di luntano. 
Erto se leva lo arratore insano, 

E il giomo fugitivo intomo guarda, 

E scioglie il jugo a' bovi, che non tarda 

Per gire al suo riposo a mano a mano. 
Et io soletto, sanza alcun sogiomo, 

De' mei pensier co' il Sol sosta non have, 

E con le stelle a sospirar ritomo. 
Dolcie afianno d' amor, quanto 6i suave : 

Chd io non poso la notte e non al giomo, 

£ la fatica etema non me d grave I ^ 

A religious note makes itself heard at intervals, even in 
the first of the three books, which, though perhaps caught 
from Petrarca, need not necessarily for that reason be 
insincere. Many of Petrarca*s co-religionists, without being 
poets, have probably repeated to themselves his famous 
sonnet of pentimento in Holy Week. At the close of the 
. third book comes the summons to Rome — as we know, in 
1471, to attend on Borso in his coronation. The poet 

Scythian King, that cannot equal one sole delight of Love." 
(Cam. lii.) 

1 " Lo, the shepherdess leads to the plain the white flock that is 
under her charge, seeing the sun sinking and the hour late, and the 
mountain hamlets smoking from afar. 

" The wild ploughman raises himself erect, and looks round at the 
flying day, and loosensr the oxen from the yoke, hastening at once 
to go to his repose. 

" And I alone, without any resting-place, have no pause from 
my thoughts with the sun, and return to sigh with the stars. So 
sweet is Love's gentle torment, that I rest not night nor day, and 
the eternal labour is not grievous to me." (Cam. clii.) 

260 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 
professes the utmost sorrow in being thus compeUed to leave 
»/ bel voUo (Antonia) and his signore (Ercole). and sings the 
pains of parting at rather unnecessary length, consoled 
somewhat (so at least a sonnet says) by seeing the former 
turn pale and weep. But a more solemn note is struck at 
his first sight of the Eternal City, in prospedu Rotnae :- 

Ecco r alma citt4 che fu regina 
Da r unde Caspe a la terra Sabea • 
La triomfal citU che impero avea 
Dove il Sol se alza insin 14 dove inchina. 

Or levo fate e sententia dlvina 
Si 1- han mutata a quel ch' esser solea, 
Che, dove quasi al ciel equal surgea 
Sua giande alteza copre ogni ruina. ' 

Quando fia adunque pift cosa terrena 
Stabile e ferma ? poi che tanta altura 
11 tempo e la fortuna a terra mena. 

U)me posso lo sperar gi4 mai sicura 
La mia promessa ? Chd io non credo a pena 
cue un giomo intiero amore in donna dura.* 

He confess^ to a certain Battista that his love is unaltered 
and unalterable, even amidst these new surroundings and 
the fesfavities of Borso's reception. Had time or place the 
^wer to change or free him from his bonds, perchance 
Rome would have done so :— 

Ma^nd festa regal, ni molto joco. 
^ del nuo Duca la benegi^ cera. 



\ 



* " Behold the tAeaa^ -x. i.i. * 
waves to the land ofs^K '^. ^ *^ 'l"**" fr°°* *^* ^^^ 
from where the sun il? ' ^* ^^""'Pl^ant city, that held emphre 

"Now fickle Sr^H?°-^''i""' •'*^**»- 
what she was wont te k. ^k" * u^ *^^* *=*^«*^ ^ ^ ^"^ 

since'S S^foSieT '^l "^ «">- ^ ^***^ ^^ ^• 
I ever hope to W? J"*"* ^"^^ ^^"^ ^^°^ to earth ? How can 
love lasts to wor^r ^ P«>m»se safe ? For hardly beUeve I that 
love lasts m woman one whole day." (^Cam. clxix.) 

261 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Nd in tanti giorni questa terra altera, 
M' hanno ancor tratto de Tusato foco.^ 

Presently he declares that all his hoi>e is still in ErcoJe, 
" my gentle lord," and in " the fair face where still my 
heart hath rest." Then come sonnets of repentance and 
renunciation of love. They are somewhat conventional 
in expression, but there is no reason for doubting that 
Rome had a solemnizing effect upon the mind of the sen- 
sitive poet. And, after an allegorical canzone on the 
treacheries and deception of passion, he turns for aid and 
pardon to the " King of the stars, eternal and immorta]." 
This concluding sonnet, however, is not in any sense a 
renunciation of love, but a general confession oi human 
sin and frailty on the part of the writer. He was still to 
glorify love in the Orlando : — 

Amor prime trovd le rime e* versi, 

I suoni, i canti ed ogni melodia, 
£ genti istrane e popoli dispersi 
Congiunse amore in dolce compagnia : 

II diletto e il piacer isarian sommersi. 
Dove amor non avesse signoria; 
Odio crudele e dispietata guerra, 

Se amor non fusse, avrian tutta la terra. ^ 

A new epoch in Boiardo's life and work begins with his 
return from Rome and the accession to the throne of his 
friend Ercole, in 1471. He was probably present in Ferrara 

* " But neither royal festivity, nor much delight, nor the gracious 
bearing of my Duke, nor in so many days this noble town, has ye 
drawn me from the wonted fire." (Canz. cixxi.) 

» "Love first found rhymes and verses, music, songs, and au 
melody ; strange folk and scattered nations hath Love conjoined in 
sweet company. Delight and pleasure would be drowned, if ^^'^ 
had not his sovereignty ; cruel hate and pitiless war, il Love were 
not, would possess all the earth." (Orl. Inn,, II. iv. 2.) 

262 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

at the overthrow of the Veleschi — an event which he hailed 
in a series of exultant epigrams.* His love for Antonia 
Caprara was now a thing of the past, and in the following 
year he married Taddea Gonzaga, the daughter of Count 
Giorgio of the Gonzaga of Novellara. 

Attempts have been made to weave a romance roimd 
Boiardo's marriage. A curious allegorical poem in terza 
ritna — the sixth of his Italian eclogues — undoubtedly be- 
longs to this epoch of his hfe. In it an impassioned hunter 
is w^earied to death with pursuing a capro formoso, a lovely 
goat, than which " a more beauteous never Jason saw in 
Crete, nor the Trojan youth in the wood on Ida," and of 
which he is desperately enamoured ; but the fair creature 
proves inaccessible. " That is the goat of Pan, our god,'* 
and a shepherd shows him the way instead to a mysterious 
white marble fountain, where he may slake this fire in 
the " sweetest and clearest water of the world," though 
Love is hidden in the trees above it, and shoots through 
the boughs at aU who approach. It has been plausibly 
suggested that this is an allegory of the poet's marriage, 
and that the shepherd, in whose pastoral costume the hun- 
ter is to approach the fountain, is Count Giorgio Gonzaga.* 
Be that as it may, Boiardo's bride was received in triumph 

* They are eight in number (pp. 473-475) in Solerti's edition. 
One of the shortest will serve as example : — 

Quid juvat haec garula contendere voce profani 

Veligeri, et cunctis dicere vela viris. 
Cum tribuant regem, dyamantaque numina clament. 
Cum dominum Alcidem mundus et astra velint ? 
* Guide Mazzoni, on the Ecloghe Volgari, in the Studi su M. M. 
Boiardo, pp. 335-340. The poem has the rubric : " in the sixth 
Eclogue a wearied himter and a shepherd speak in allegory, hiding 
tlieir names even as the matter is hidden." The reference to Pan 
is an echo from Petrarca's sonnet, Una Candida cerva : *' Libera 
farmi al mio Cesare parve." 

263 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

at Scandiano ; he appears to have been deeply attached 
to her, and the marriage proved a happy one. 

In 1473, Boiardo was one of the splendid company that 
Ercole sent to Naples, to bring Leonora of Aragon to 
Ferrara. This was the first of many important affairs of 
State in which he was employed by his new sovereign. 

In September, 1473, a violent quarrel had brokra 
out between the municipality of Reggio and the Pio of 
Carpi, the subject being, of course, the endless question of 
the water supply of the city and the canal. The Pio even 
went so far as to send an armed force to cut off the water, 
and Boiardo, who had promptly offered his assistance to 
the Ancients to defend the rights of the city, appears to 
have driven back his aunt's kindred by force, vi et arms. 
Whether this had anything to do with what followed, or 
whether the Countess was actuated by the desire to secure 
the whole of the Boiardo fiefs and territory to her own 
son Giovanni (who was always hostile to his cousin and 
cruelly robbed his family after his death), we cannot say. 
But it seems fairly certain that, at the beginning of i474' 
Count Marco Pio himself, her brother, with her own 
active connivance, suborned two men to take Matteos 
life by poison. One of these two was a trusted servant of 
the poet, un suo caro famiglio ; the other was a notary, 
Simone Boioni, either his or Giovanni's chancellor, a fellow 
whom Matteo Maria had loaded with benefits and marks 
of favour. The famigliOy whose name does not appear, 
was to go to Carpi, get the poison from Count Marco, an 
then, apparently, Simone was to administer it. ^^ 
when the time came for the man to start, either his courage 
failed him or he repented, and he revealed the whole to 
his master, who prepared a dramatic coup worthy oi 

264 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

author of the Orlando. He arranged things so as to over- 
hear the instructions of the Countess to her ministers and 
fello^v-criminals, and let the repentant servant carry out 
his j>axt of the design and go to Carpi for the poison. Then, 
when he had all the evidence in his hands, Boiardo 
called to horse, and, with the servant and Simone in his 
train, hastened to Ferrara, and related the whole plot to 
the Dtike. Simone was at once hurled into the dungeons 
of the Castle ; the poison was tested and found deadly. 
Count Marco was summoned to the ducal presence, and 
placed under arrest.* Probably, Boiardo himself refused 
to take any proceedings against the Countess ; there is no 
evidence that she was in any way called to account, though 
it was known and admitted that she had been her brother*s 
accomplice. 

This complete escape of the principals from chastisement 
was, perhaps, common enough in those aristocratic days ; 
but Boiardo, with a magnanimity worthy of the cortesia 
of one of his own paladins, obtained that the same grace 
should be extended to the actual instruments. Simone's 
brother, Boione Boioni, who had also enjoyed his favour, 
was one of the Ancients of Reggio, and he prevailed upon 
the Commune to intercede for his brother with Matteo 
Maria himself and with the Duke. On February 14, 
the Ancients wrote to Boiardo a piteous appeal on behalf 
of " our poor and unhappy fellow-citizen." " It would 

1 Our only authority for the details of the plot is a letter dated 
March 23, 1474, in the Milanese Archivio di Stato, from Antonio 
da Correggio, "Count and ducal counsellor," brother-in-law of 
Feltrino Boiardo, to the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria. It is given 
by Ferrari, op dt., -pp. 34-35. The other documents were first 
printed by A. Catelani in his pamphlet, Sopra un attentato alia 
vita del Conte Matteo Mafia Boiardo (Reggio, 1890- 

265 S 



IV 



1 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

seem a hard thing to ordtiiaiy men to paidoo so great an 
atrocity ; bat to men of the greatness and of the generosity 
of soul as is your Magmficence» it is a natural and easy thing 
to forgive the whole and consign it to oblivion.'* They 
sent another appeal for mercy to the Doke, and fervently 
conunended their envoy and the cause of the priscmer to 
the clemency and mnHnp^^Q of Boiardo himsdf. The 
worthy citizens knew their man. The horriUe penalties 
of the law for pcrisoners were coomiuted into banishment, 
and even this was soon remitted. On November 2, i474' 
the would-be poisoner wrote from Bagnolo to the Ancients, 
expressing his ardent desire to return home. The Ancients 
had already petitioned Ercole for a complete pardon, and 
Simone implored them to write on his behalf to Boiardo, 
to beg him to write to the Duke and intercede for his return. 
This appears to have been done; Simbne was restored 
to his country, and allowed to fill the honourable offices 
of the Commune, as if nothing had happened. The Duke 
only insisted that he should pay the costs of one of the 
lawyers employed in the case ! He even sat in the Counc 
of the Forty in Reggio while Boiardo was governor of 
the city.* Nevertheless, the poet afterwards bore the 
legal profession a grudge : — 

Attend! a la giustizia, 
£ ben ti guarda da procuratori, 
£ giudici e notai ; chd han gran tristizia, 
£ pongono la gente in molti errori. 
Stimato assai d quel oh' ha piii malizia, 
£ gli awocati sono anche peggiori, 
Che voltano le leggi a lor parere ; 
Da lor ti guarda, e farai tuo dovere.* 

1 Catelani, op. cU. ; Ferrari, op. cU., pp. 31-33. ^^ and 

« " Attend to justice, and beware of procurators ana juu^ 

266 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

The Duke, hoping to heal the feud in the family, offered 
to give Matteo Maria double in the Duchy of Ferrara, if 
he would reUnquish Scandiano. But the poet naturally 
declined. In 1475, the dominions of the Boiardi were 
divided between him and Giovanni— the latter having 
Casalgrande and Arceto with three smaller places,* Matteo 
Maria being henceforth Count of Scandiano alone. He 
left the neighbourhood of Reggio for a while after this 
attempt on his Ufe, and, from 1475 to 1478, stayed with his 
family at Ferrara, in a palace still indicated in the Via 
Ripa Grande, filling some position at the Court of Ercole. 
In his absence, the Countess Cornelia Taddea and her son 
made themselves disagreeable to the people of Reggio, 
and the question of the water supply from the Secchia 
pursued him even to the capital. In a letter to the Ancients 
of Reggio from Ferrara, on this endless theme, Boiardo 
professes hunself entirely at their service, prays them to 
use the places of his dominion as though it were their own 
district : " If I were the Emperor, I should wish to be a 
Reggian, obedient to and well-loved by my native city.'' » 
At the same time, he was engaged in literary work, trans- 
lating Herodotus from the Greek (of which he knew a 
httle, but not enough for his task), and writing a sort of 
abbreviation of the Golden Ass of Apuleius. He had 
already begun his great poem of Orlando Innamoraio, 
which he probably read aloud as he proceeded, canto by 
canto, to the Duke and the courtly gatherings of the capi- 

notari^ ; for they are a wicked set, and lead folk into many errors ; 
ne who has most malice is much esteemed, and even worse are the 
lawytts, who wrest the laws to their opinion. Beware of them, 
and thou Shalt do thy duty." (OrL Inn., II. xxviii. 51.) 
J Arceto is down in the plain on the other side of the Tresinaro. 
Letter of August 2, 1477. Campanini, p. 3^4- 

267 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

tal, the Signori e dame e bella baronia of his preludes.^ 
To these and the few following years, before the outbreak 
of the disastrous Venetian war, belong the first two parts 
of the poetical romance. 

From the b^inning of 1481 to the end of 1482, Matteo 
Maria was ducal captain of Modena — the most turbulent 
and factious city of the Estensian dominions. Hardly was 
he arrived there when, in February, he had to put down 
a tumult with a strong hand, and to send for some hundred 
or so of his own armed retainers from Scandiano, to secure 
the punishment of the chief offenders, whom he had 
hanged from a window of the governor's palace.* A letter 
of his to the Duke on April 27 of the following year, just 
before the outbreak of hostilities with Venice and the Church, 
gives a vivid picture of the times and of the poet's own 
mildness of disposition. In consequence of the murder 
of a certain Centauro da Mocogno and his companions, the 
whole of the Frignano, the mountainous region to the south- 
west of Sassuolo, is up in arms, part on one side, part on 
the other, and blood has already been shed. It is useless 
sending the captain of the district to the disturbed area 
with twenty or thirty men, because the people are not 
afraid of him, and so many are concerned that punishment 
is out of the question. The writer's suggestion is that the 
Duke should hold out hopes of a complete pardon to every 
one involved, and so bring the factions to some sort of peace. 

1 Feltrino Boiardo had previously translated the Golden Ass^ ^ 
we learn from the De Politia Litieraria, i. 6. Is Matteo Maria's ver- 
sion, perhaps, merely a revision of his grandfather's work? ^ 
March, 1479, according to the documents discovered by Bertoni, 
op. cU.y pp. 26, 27, the copyists of the Duke were at work upon both 
the Orlando and the translation of the Golden Ass. 

^ Jacopino de' Bianchi, Cronaca Modenese, i. pp. 47, 48. 

268 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

-LiJce the other ducal representatives, Boiardo has been 
exaraining the artilleiy of the various forts and castles, 
evidently to see what can be spared for the dfefence of 
Ferrax"a itself, and the singer of jousts and paladins is 
delightfully vague about these more modern implements 
of war. " In your Rocca of Castellarano your most illus- 
trious I-^rdship has five or six iron cannons ; very long, 
fine and good, according to their kind. I believe that 
Count I^renzo Strozza had them made. I do not know 
whether I should call them bombarde or spingarde, not to 
make a mistake ; but they seem to me good enough cannon. 
If you should need them, you know where they are." * 

Druring the earUer stages of the war, Boiardo was certainly 
at Modena. He was probably still there in November 
and December, when serious riots broke out in the city 
and district, in consequence of the conveying of food stuffs 
by the canal in boats to famine-stricken Ferrara. A num- 
ber of houses and palaces were sacked by the hungry mob, 
while the contadini rose in arms, plundered villas and 
buildings in the suburbs, an^ threatened the gates.' 

The poet probably saw active service in the war. In the 
following year, 1483, we find him sometimes at Reggio 
and Scandiano, sometimes with the Duke in the capital. 
He had finished the first and second books of the Orlando, 
and laid down the pen with a sigh, on the outbreak of a 
real war instead of the mimic warfare of his song :— 

Non saran sempre i tempi si diversi, 
Che mi traggan la mente di sue loco ; 
Ma, nel presente, i canti miei son persi, 
E porvi ogni pensier mi giova poco ; 



\ Letter of April 27, 1482. Campanini, p. 385. 
Jacopino de' Bianchi, pp. 67-71. 

269 



-H 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Sentendo Italia di lament! plena, 

Non che ora canti, ma sospiro appena. 

A voi, leggiadri amanti e damigelle, 

Che dentro a' cor gentiU avete amore. 

Son scritte queste istorie tanto belle, 

Di cortesia fiorite e di valore ; 

Ci6 non ascoltan queste anime felle^ 

Che fan guerra per sd^no e per furore. 

Addio, amanti e dame per^rine, 

A vostro onor di questo libro d il fine.^ 

But he could not quite doff his singing-robes, so turned to 
celebrating certain phases and episodes of the war, in Italian 
eclogues in terza rima. 

Five of Boiardo's eclogues refer to the war, more particu- 
larly to the middle phase of the struggle. And we may, 
perhaps, imagine that their recitation enlivened the sick- 
room of Duke Ercole. In the first, the shepherd Tytiro 
— ^who is evidently Tito Vespasiano Strozzi — ^bewails the 
ravages of the Nemean monster and the destruction of his 
own beautiful villa by the sea.' But Mopso (Boiardo 
himself) reads upon the trunk of Apollo's sacred tree a 
prophecy, imitated in parts from Dante's of the VeUro, 
A mighty leader, inclyto duce, who has already delivered 
Italy from the Turks, shall put to flight " Dabnatians and 
Slavonians and their viler lords " ; with his aid, Ercole 

* '• Not always will the times be so discordant as to draw my 
mind from its place. But, at present, my songs are lost, ^^ *J? 
devote my thoughts to them avails me httle ; hearing Italy full 
of lamentation, I scarcely sigh now, much less sing. 

** To you, winsome lovers and damsels, who have love witnin 
your gentle hearts, are written these goodly stories, adorned wit 
courtesy and valour. Those feU souls do not hearken to them, 
who make war for disdain and ior fury. Addio, lovers and beau- 
teous ladies, to your honour is the end of this book." {Ori /**' 
II. xxxi. 49, 50.) 

s Cf. Mazzoni, op, cii,, p. 328. 

270 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

shall hunt back the savage Lion to the seashore whence it 
came. In the second, the nymph Galatea rises up from the 
Po and sings a piteous lament ; the royal deliverer, the 
victor of Otranto and Poggio Imperiale, tarries long ; while 
" the fair land that was once full of every delight " is 
ravaged with fire and sword : — 



Aprete celo, e voi guardati un poco, 
Pietosi Dei, a le isole del Pado, 
Chd per tutto d roina e sangue e foco. 

Di corpi ocdsi d fatto un novo vado, 
£ fame e peste sceman tntta via 

^ Ogni etade ogni sexo et ogni grado. 

£ questa quella terra che solia 
£sser spechio de Italia, anci del mondo, 
A li omini cortesa et al eel pia ? 

Si regal corte e stato si jocondo, 
Tanti trionfi e tanti cavalieri 
Come ha sparsi fortuna e posti al fondo ? 

Le large slrate or son stretti sentieri, 
Arse le ville, e tra la gente morta 
Stanno or le serpi, o barbari pid fieri. 

Non sei del tuo periglio, Italia, accorta ? 
Vedi che a divorarte el Leon ponge 
In ogni parte, e bate a questa porta. 

La soglia de la intrata ha gi4 tra ongie, 
E ciascun passo fia soluto e piano 
Se quel che io dico a tempo non vi gionge. 

Ogni rimedio, ogni altro ajuto d vano, 
Perd che Alcide, qual era restauro 
Al danno immenso et al furor insano, 

Non da Getico dardo o stral di Mauro, 
Ma da febre ferito a terra giace, 
£ sieco di vertute ogni tesauro. 

O se risurga quel spirto vivace, 
Creddti che il Leon, che si se afretta, 
Non fari tal fremir, come ora face. 

Ma tu, perchd non vieni, anima eletta ? 
£letta in terra a possider vittoria, 
Perchd non vieni a chi tanto t' aspetta ? 

Ove credi aquistar mai piU di gloria, 

271 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Traendo Italia langnida e confusa 
Fuor de la servitA di tanta boria.^ 

The third eclogue appears to be of earlier date, and has 
no connexion with the war ; two shepherds are singing 
together, in somewhat Virgilian strains, in alternate song, 
of their loves. In the fourth, we have a lament for " the 
bitter capture of the son of EJgeo," fallen into the hands 
of the horrible winged Lion — evidently Niccold da Cor- 
r^gio, captured by the Venetians at Argenta, " that rare 
and noble spirit, the crown of virtue " — and a prophecy of 
his speedy deliverance and return, " like a phoenix that by 

^ " Open, Heaven, and ye, pitiful gods, look down upon the 
islands of the Po, for everywhere is ruin and blood and fire. 

" A new ford is made of the bodies of the slain ; famine and pest 
on all sides are destroying every age, each sex and every degree. 

" Is this that city that used to be the mirror of Italy, nay, of the 
world, courteous to men and faithful to Heaven ? 

" Such royal Court, a state so jocund, so many triumphs and so 
many knights — how has fortune scattered them and cast them 
down ? 

" The broad ways are now narrow paths, the villas are burnt, 
and among the dead folk are now serpents or barbarians more 
fierce. 

'* Dost thou not perceive thy danger, Italy ? See how the Lion 
prepares to devour thee in every part, and beats at this gate. 

" The threshold of the entry it hath already in its claws, and each 
step will be free and easy, if He whom I say cometh not soon. 

" Every remedy, every other aid is vain. For Alcides, he that 
was her protection against the immense calamity and its i^^ 
fury, 

" Smitten not by Thracian dart or Moorish shaft, but by fever, 
lieth prone, and with him every treasure of virtue. 

" Oh, if that keen spirit rises up, be sure that the Lion, who thus 
presses on, will not rage as nt)w it doth. 

" But thou, choeen soul, why comest not ? Chosen on earth 
to possess victory, why dost not come to him who awaits thee so . 

" Where dost thou think ever to win greater glory, than by de- 
livering languid and harassed Italy from the servitude of sue 
great pride ? " {Ed. ii. 70-105.) 

272 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

wW,!^J' ''"'"'''•" ^' fi"^' ^^' ^ » l°ve poem, in 
wluch the opening lines of the Canzoniere are quoted as if 

e!t^ Li K^ ''""^*^ ^"^ "' ^ *he poem already 

t^ ^d^ rreS^l^t^' "'"^^'" ^ '^ 
series th*. »! • ' ^'"''^ '^ °°« °^ ^^ ^^^ of the 

lamentini. th. a^ . '^ '*^^^' shepherds are 

tity nor tothat oTk , '' °° '^'^^ '^^^ *« her iden- 

devastation of the F^^ ^ ! *^* accompanied thQ 

on the other hand if!^ *'"^*T ^^ "^^^ ^^^g^^' 
of a beautiful girl' :an^P;n.°;-«^« -the marriage 

tenth and last " the 2h , '°"' ^"'''"°^- ^° *^^ 

panegyric of th. ^^ '^^ ^^ OT>heus sings the 

entry into Fenia .n.^ • ^''*"^ *° ^*°"^ *^" his 

After the 5^ ifT'''/"!'^ *"'^P'^^- 
noble companVthat at,^°^/"^'^° ^°™^ «"« °* *he 

the party.' nJe * ^™* ^'"'^^^ Ariosti being also of 
poet usually resided at this time at his 

* Four of the eclogues ref • 
between the middle of n^"°^ *^e ^ar must have been written 
1483, after the papal chfl^™* J'*^'^' *"«' the end of January, 
first) and before the arr^S?^! ^l^^^ <^*l^h is referred to in the 
pnte the tenth a litOe la?^ and fin'^s *^™ ^'^^ "'' ^- 3". 334. 
first victories over the \^n « • *"«s»ons in it to the Duke's 

five are probably some v^^ '?• **'*' ^P™»e »* ^483. The other 
whereas the Xatin e^'^^*" •^'**'' I* « curious to note that , 

ten Italian pastorSs^^l ^'^ ^^*^ ** ^^^io in 1500, the , ^-' 
century. «« remained gnedite d until the nineteenth <^-r 

Ferrari, op. cit-pT^o. '- 

273 



1% 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

own castle of Scandiano, where he was probably busy 
preparing his book for the press ; for, at the b^^inning of 
1487, the first two books of the Orlando Innamoraio were 
published in Venice, with a dedication to the Duke of 
Ferrara. 

In January, 1487, Boiardo was appointed captain oi 
the city and duchy of R^gio, a post which he filled for 
the rest of his life. On February i, he msAe his state entry 
into his beloved patria, received with acclamation and 
enthusiasm. His residence was not the usual palace of the 
captain, but the great ducal citadel — ^the same building in 
which Lodovico Ariosto had been bom thirteen years 
before. The government of R^gio was anything but a 
sinecure. The new captain's excessive mildness is said to 
have led to hcence and disorder ; he had a rooted objecticm 
to inflicting the death penalty (so at least sa}^ the tradition, 
but we have seen an instance to the contrary), and the 
chronicler Pandroli declares that he was more apt for com- 
posing songs than for punishing crime. The Venetians 
accused him of sheltering forgers and coiners. He was 
much harassed by a lawsuit between himself and Taddeo 
Manfredi, and even more by the perpetual intrigues and 
interference of the ducal commissary, Messer Bdtramino, 
a Ferrarese lawyer, who tried to undermine his authority 
and insisted upon regarding him as a personal enemy, 
although Boiardo wrote to the Duke that " from me he will 
have nothing but kindness and good company."* In 
another strain we find him writing to Ercole, about a 
treatise on architecture (evidently the famous work by 
Leon Battista Alberti), recently pubUshed in Florence ; he 
is unable to give his Excellence full particulars about the 
*■ Letter of March 26, 1492. Campanini, p. 404. 
274 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

construction of fountains without it, " because I have not 
my imagination too well disposed, owing to the sickness 
that my wife has, who is very ill indeed." ^ 

There are a large number of letters, more than a hundred 
still extant, written by Boiardo while captain of R^gio^ 
Most of them are addressed to the Duke himself ; but a f e\ir 
are to the Gonzaga, to various Pod«tis in the district o£ 
Reggio, and others. They are an extraordinary testimony 
to the minute scrutiny of Ercole's rule. Nothing is too 
small to be reported to the Duke— even if the writer himself 
desires leave of absence for a day, or the captain of the 
guard in the citadel wishes to go home to bring his household, 
or citizens have been masquerading against the r^ulations, 
or the friars have indulged in a petty squabble in some 
convent. Several letters refer to criminal processes. One 
of the most curious is the case of a Jew who has had 
intercourse with a Christian woman, Boiardo as captain 
substituting a fine for the usual death sentence, and appar- 
ently getting even the fine remitted. Another concerns 
three young noblemen of Reggio (including one of the 
Malaguzzi), who have carried off, not entirely without her 
own consent, and outraged a girl named Cassandra, the 
daughter of Messer Baldassare, the captain of Porta Cas- 
tello.^ Others deal with boimdary disputes in connexion ' 
with the marchesato of Fivizzano, which was adjacent to 
the Duchy of Reggio, but belonged to Florence. For 

1 Letter of September 17, 1488. Ibid., p. 393- 
* Lf ^^'^ o^ November 16 and 24, and December 16, 1493. Cam- 
panini, pp. 409-412. This Messer Baldassare is, of course, the 
painter and medallist, Baldassare d' Este. A letter from him to the 
Duke, of November 3, 1493, crying out for justice upon those who 
had mined his daughter, is given by Venturi, L' Arte Ferrarese nel 
periodo d' Ercole I d' Este, ii. pp. 381, 382. 

275 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

instance, a party of men from the Reggian town of Varano 
has gone to cut wood in a bosco on the frontier, which 
is also claimed by a townlet just outside the duchy 
called Gruppo San Pietro, and has been assailed by the 
folk of the latter place, shouting, "Havoc I Havoc! Marzocco! 
Marzocco ! " Or the cattle from Varano, feeding over the 
boundary, have been lifted by the people of Amelia ; and 
in each case the poet-captain .has to interfere, to prevent 
reprisals and political complications. Other letters deal 
with hawks and hounds and horses, and one is about 
some antique medals that have been found by a contadino, 
several of which are still at the command of the Duke. 

But, even with all these multitudinous cares weighii^ 
upon him, Matteo Maria found time for literature. It 
was probably in these years at Reggio that he translated 
the Vitae ExceUentium Imperatorum of Cornelius Nepos, 
and wrote the Timone for the Duke's theatre at Ferrara. 
The latter work, which upon a mere hypothesis is usually 
assigned to theyeari49i,is written in fer^fa n>»a,foundedupon 

a Latin translation (perhaps Aurispa's)of Lucian's dialogue, 
and is more in the form of a miracle-play than a true drama. 
It has small poetic and no dramatic value ; but it is naturally 
pleasant for English readers to see Ariosto*s forerunner 
also heralding Shakespeare. Boiardo's supreme literary 
achievement of these years is the continuation, the nme 
cantos of the third part, of his Orlando^ doomed to be cut 
short together with his life and Italy's liberty. 

Probably there was no one more interested in the pro- 
gress of this poem than Isabella d* Este, to whom Boiardo 
intended to dedicate it when completed. She wrote twice 
to him in the August of 1491, begging him to send her tna 
part of the work, the Inamaramenio de Orlando, as tbey 

276 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

called it, which he had newly composed, promising to send 
it back at once, as soon as she had read it. The poet 
answered that he had composed no more than what she had 
already seen, when she was at Reggio with her mother. 
*• If your Excellence would like to see that, pray mforai 
me, for I will have it transcribed at once and send it to 
you ; and I am sorry, to content you, that I have not con- 
tinued the work, which has been mtemipted by other 
occupations." Of course Isabella wanted that part, as she 
could get nothing more, and begged him to send it to her 
in order that she might read it another time. " Most illus- 
trious and worshipful Lady mine," answered Boiardo, " at 
present I have no copy save the original in my own hand, 
which would be difficult to read ; but I will have a copy 
made of it, and send it to your Ladyship within six days by 
a special mounted messenger." * Every modem author 
will realize the poet's predicament. 

At the end of 1493, Boiardo wrote a somewhat pitifuUy 
worded supplication to the Duke, beggmg him to confirm 
him in his offices at Reggio in the usual way. But, as a 
rule, his service and adulation (which was evidently quite 
sincere) by no means impUed blind subservience. On one 
occasion, the Marquis of Mantua told Boiardo's brother-m- 
law. Count Cristoforo Gonzaga, that he had heard from the 
Duke of Ferrara that Boiardo had accused him (the Count 
Cristoforo), by letter, of secret negotiations with the 
Government of Milan. " If any one has told your Cdsitude 
this," virrote Boiardo to the Marquis, " on behalf of the 
Lord Duke of Ferrara, he has departed from the truth. If 

^ Letters of August 8 and 17, 1491. Campanini, p. 404. See also 
Luzio, IsabeUa d* Este e V Orlando Innamoraio, in the Studi su 
M . M. BotMrdo, pp. 14^1 5^^ ^ijcre the text of Isabella's two letters is 
given. 

277 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

his Excellence himself has said it, I keep silent and say no 
more." * A few years later, he makes a dignified answer 
to an accusation of the Duke himself that he has received 
and sheltered proclaimed criminals {banniii) at Scandiano 
and places governed by him. " Your Lordship should hold 
for certain that, while I am in this place, I would not keep 
men under ban in my house ; if I did not act thus for rever- 
ence of your Lordship, I should do so for my own honour." * 
Throughout the fatal year of 1494, we have an almost 
continuous series of letters from Boiardo to Ercole, in his 
capacity of governor of Reggio, fuU of the bustle and turmoil 
of the time. Here and there, especially in his private and 
confidential correspondence with the Duke, the poet-captain 
reveals a delightfully satirical humour. A Frandscan 
conventual, Frate Giovanni da Monleone, who appears on 
the banks of the Secchia, attended like a grand prelate 
rather than a religious, and professes to have been summoned 
by the Pope to compose the differences between the Kings 
of France and Spain, is a life*like portrait of the ecclesiastical 
political wire-puller of the epoch.® When ** Don Juliano," 
captain of the French balestrieriy comes to R^gio with his 
company, Boiardo, attended by Messer Beltramino and 
Sigismondo Cantemo, goes to drink with him in his hostelry. 
He describes in full the man's swagger and pretentiousness, 
his silk doublet all stained with soup, his black velvet cloak 
blazing with jewels which " Messere " thought magnificent, 
but which his superior perceived to be all false, his fine 
show of plate and silver which was of the same value as the 
jewels, " His conversation is exactly like his equipment, 

* Letter of May 7, 1489. Campanini, p. 397. 

* Letter of May 30, 1494. Ibid,^ p. 427. 
3 Letter of May 14, 1494. JWrf., p. 424. 

278 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

e wntes ; " your Excellence can hear all about it from 
Messere. I do not think that I shall light upon another 
I>on JuHano." » 

ut the humour soon dies awray. Boiardo paints with 
S t but firm touches the incidents m the passage of the 
royal and ducal troops, the difficulty of finding quarters 
and supplies for them, the havoc wrought in all directions, 
e misery of the people, the brutalities and prepotency of 
French, the inability of the milder Italian officers to 
^dH ^^^ commands obeyed, Antisemitic troubles were 
added. The French maltreated and plundered the Jews, 
Juid on one occasion would have butchered one in the street, 
» certain priests had not come to the rescue ; a friar (the 
religious of the duchy apparently differing from the secular 
^ ergy and the Duke on the Semitic question) thundered 
^mst the Hebrews from the pulpit, until Boiardo, in 
Ercole's name, cautioned him to moderate his eloquence.' 
Utterly worn out by his labours, Boiardo was now rapidly 
breaking down in health, and the last two months of his 
We were occupied in a feverish attempt, as it were from 
MS death-bed, to secure the town and marchesato of Fivizzano 
tor Duke Ercole, in the general dissolution of the Floren- 
tine territory that seemed imminent. From MUan, on 
ovember 7, Ercole wrote cautiously both to Boiardo and 
to the Ancients of Reggio, giving a sort of consent to the 
«:neme; and the inhabitants of Fivizzano itself, who had 
een horribly maltreated by the French in their passage, 
seemed to see in the sway of the House of Este their one 

thblto^^ ^"^** ^^' '494- Ibid., pp. 444. 445- But when 
the nenni ^^*"** 8°* ^ Modena, he made a great impression upon 
t^r- ^^- Jacopino de' Bianchi, p. 120. 
i-erots of October 10 and 13. Campanini. pp. 452. 453- 

379 



DUKES AND POETS I] 

hope of adequate protection. Boia 
at once opened a correspondence w 
people of the district. But they Wi 
Malaspina, who entered Fivizzano ' 
were in progress; and, in the meai 
heard of what was on foot, and formi 
Ferrarese ambassador, Manfredo 1 
returned to Ferrara, and, on Decemt 
Reggio received a strongly-worded 
censuring them in the most seven 
ignorance of the whole negotiation, 
written such letters," he said, " you hi 
and we are greatly displeased. We 
recall those letters, and to write to 
seem best to you, to make your exc 

Thus, with his last effort to serve 
and rejected, his mind fuU of apprel 
land, Boiardo died on December 19, 
hour of the night." 

Unfinished though it be, the Orli 
landmark in the history of Italian lite 
speaking, not an epic of any kind, b 
in poetry. We have seen already 
the legends of Charlemagne's paladins 
exercised over the minds of the cava 
Ferrarese Court, the zeal displayed b 
lecting these romances and adven 
original French or in Italian translati 
A few months before her appeal to E 

^ For the whole episode see Campanini, 1 
di Reggio, in the Studi su M. M. Boiardo, p 
letters during October and November, pp. 

280 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

the manuscript of the additions to his poem, the Marchesana 
IssLbella had entered into a prolonged and animated dis- 
cussion, both by word of mouth and by letter, with Galeazzo 
Visconti, as to the rival merits of Orlando and Rinaldo, 

she herself persisting in her preference for the latter 

hero, while Galeazzo to the last professed himself ready to 
defend the honour of Orlando, and to prove to her Ladyship 
*' that there has never been a man equal to him in all virtue 
and valour." i The Estensi hailed Ruggiero as their ances- 
tor, the perfect knight and paladin of Trojan race ; but 
their Venetian enemies professed to attribute to them a 
far less honourable descent, from Gano or Ganelon, and the 
House of Maganza (Mayence), the typical traitors of the 
Carolingian cycle.a This admiration for and interest in 
great Charles and his chivahy was not confined to the noble 
and cixltured ; the people loved to hear the songs that told 
of the doughty deeds of the paladins, just as Manzoni's 
immortal tailor found his inteUectual food in the perusal of 
the Reali di Francia. On a historical occasion, to be 
described later, the street rabble of Venice assailed Duke 
Ercole with catcalls and yeUs of " Maganzese." For the 
ArthuriaJi romances, however, those Ariuri regis ambages 
pidcherrimae, as Dante called them, the taste was entirely 
confined to the aristocracy of the epoch. 

Already in Tuscany, for the delectation of Lorenzo de' 
Medici and his circle, Luigi Pulci had fused some of the 

1 See Lurio and Renier, DeUe Relazioni di Isabella d' Esie Gonzaga 

con Lodavtcoe Beatrice Sforsa, pp. 100-107. Cf. Boiardo, Orl. Inn., 

'*^' 1 piloted below). The letter from Borso da Correggio, 

^V^ ^ V ^^ ^^ ^^^' ^- ^^'' P- 379, and translated by Mrs. 

Axly, op. cu^ p 206, shows that the latter is mistaken in identifying 

^ ^^?° T^^ ^^ ^^^ ^ San Severino. 
tPclo^, p/sir* ^"^^^^ Orlando Fwrioso, pp. 134-13/; and cf. 



281 



DUKES AND POETS 

matter of the Carolingian cycle, la 
a work of art. Boiardo went fur 
fresh life into the stories, and tran 
spirit drawn from the Arthuria 
Brettagna. Taking his heroes from 
figm'es of the personages of the 
investing them with the characi 
and adventures of the knights an( 
Arthur, adding a strong infusion 
seen as with the eyes and rendered s 
of such painters as Botticelli and P 
composed his poetic romance.* 
Arthurian legends, and the new 
Renaissance, are fused into a ha 
fierce paladins of the Emperor are ti 
errant, and Love is made the Ion 
Paynim alike : — 

Non vi par gi4, signor, mar£ 
Odir contar d' Orlando inna] 
Chd qualunque nel mondo ^ 
£ da amor vinto al tutto e : 
Nd forte braccio, nd ardire a 
Nd scudo o maglia, nd brand 
Nd altra possanza pud mai £ 
Che al fin non sia da amor I 

Thus the terrible Orlando himsel 
cesvalles, the thunder of whose 

* Cf. Rajna, op. ciL, pp. 19-25, and his 1 
the Studi su M. M, Boiardo, pp. 129-134 
263-274. 

* "Think it not marvellous, lordings, 
enamoured ; for whoso in the world is haug 
and subdued by Love. Nor mighty arm 
shield or mail, nor sharp sword, nor any otl 
him from being at the end beaten and 
/nn., I. i. 2). 

282 



i. 



! 



M 




S4r ^^ 






^/&K^. 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

the literature of the Middle Ages to find an echo still in 
Dante's /w/^rw, becomes a Tristram or a Lancelot for the 
nonce ; nay more, is the willing amorous slave of the lovely 
Saracen AngeUca. The innate common-sense of the Italian 
genius keeps the poet from taking the more extravagant 
exploits and adventures too seriously, or recording them 
otherwise than to raise a laugh by appealing to the authority 
of Turpin ; whfle his native cynicism, or perhaps that lack 
of genuine appreciation of mysticism which seems ingrained 
m the Itahan character, draws him back from the dizzy 
ascents of the Quest of the Holy Graal. No hero of Boiardo's 
would have dreamed of setting foot " in the city of Sarras, 
m the spiritual place." The sanctity of a Galahad or a 
Perceval, the repentance of a Lancelot, would have intro- 
duced an utterly discordant note ; and, for the same reason, 
we should seek in vain through his stanzas for the pity and 
terror of the fall of Guenevere. They are as lovers and 
^kers of adventure alone that the warriors of the Table 
Kound appeal to the Count of Scandiano and his courtly 
audience :— 

Fu gloriosa Bertagna la grande 
Una stagion per 1' arme e per 1' amore, 
unde ancor oggi U nome suo si spande 
« Che al re Artuse fa portare onore, 
Waando i buon cavalieri a queUe bande 
Mostrarno in pO^ battaglie U suo valore, 
Andando con lor dame in awentura, 
*^ or sua fama al nostro tempo dura. 

Re Carlo in Franza poi tenne gran corte. 
Ma a quella prima ncm fu somigliante, 
Benche assai fosse ancor robusto e forte 
Ed avewe Ranaldo e '1 Sir d' Anglante; 
FercM toine ad Amor chiuse le porte, 
E sols, dette a fc battagUe santeV 
Non fu di quel valore o quella stima 
Wual fu queU* altra che io contava in prima, 
283 



DUKES AND POETS I 

Perd che A more d quel cfa 
£ che fa Tuomo d^^o ed on 
Amore d quel che dona la vil 
£ dona ardir al cavaliero arc 

And again, in a passage which h; 
trae Arthurian ring : — 

U vago amor che a sue da 
Portarno al tempo antico i a 
£ le battaglie e le venture isi 
£ r armeggiar per giostre e p 
Fa, che il suo nome al mondo 
£ ciaschedun lo ascolti volent 
£ chi pi^ r uno e chi piii V a 
Come vivi tra noi fussero ano 

£ qual fia quel, che odendo 
£ di sua dama cio che se ne di 
Che non mova ad amarli il co 
Riputando il suo fin dolce e fe 
Che viso a viso essendo e mat 
£ il cor CO 1 cor pi^ stretto a 
Ne le braccia V un V altro, a 
Ciascun di lor rimase a un pui 

£ Lancilotto e sua regina be 
Mostrarno V un per V altro un 
Che dove de' suoi gesti si fave 
Par che d' intomo il cielo ardi 



1 " Britain the great was glorious once wit 
still its name resounds so that it brings hone 
the good knights in those regions showed its 
going on adventures with their ladies; ar 
our time. 

" King Charles afterwards held great Coui 
not like that former one, albeit it, too, w 
strong, and had Rinaldo and the Lord of An 
the gates closed to Love, and only engaged 
not of such worth or such renown as was ihi 
told. 

** For Love it is that gives glory, and tt 
and honoured : it is Love that gives the vi< 
to the knight in arms " (Or/. Inn.^ II. xviii. 

284 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

-^'^S^i avanti adunque ogni donzella, 
Ogm baron, che vuol portare onore, 
£t oda nel mio canto quel che io dice 
I>i dame e cavalier del tempo antico.* 

The poem opens with the great banquet given by Charle- 
"^agne at Paris to the flower of Christian and Saracen 
vairy. Xhg enchanting sorceress Angelica appears, at- 
tended by four giants and her brother ArgaUa ; she 
enamours to distraction all present with her beauty, especi- 
ally the paladins Oriando and Rinaldo, and the Saracen 
erraguto ; her person is to be the prize of the man who shall 
unhorse her brother at the Rock of MerUn, the unsuccessful 
to remain his prisoners— the whole being a deep-laid plot 
of her pagan father to destroy the power of Charlemagne. 
For Argalia has an enchanted lancq of gold, against which 
uo knightly prowess can avaU, and Angelica has a similar 
ring which, worn on the finger, renders all enchantment 
useless against the wearer, and carried in the mouth confers 
invisibility. 

From this beginning, through varied and comphcated 

. -^^ ^^ love that knights bore to their sovereign ladies 

n tne olden time, and the battles and strange adventures, and the 

T^ ^^ ^ ^^^^^ ^^^ tourneys, make its name stiU last in the world, 

an fh^ °°® gladly hears of it ; and one honours more one and 

^ A H^^^^ cottier, as though they were yet living among us. 

tho +^ ^ *^® * "^^° ^**' hearing of Tristram and of his lady 

e tale that is told, is not moved in his heart to love them, 

toh!f ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^PPy ? For, face to face and hand 

thn« ^^^^ ^^^^ ^ ^®2ui: in close embrace, in each other's arms 

vniis^mforted they died together at one moment. 

wortil^ «f^* *oo and his lovely queen showed each for each such 

^™'^**» where we speak of their deeds, it seems that the sky 

everv hn ^"^^ ^^ ^^®* ^^* ®^®^ damsel then come forward, 

sav ^ 1 ^"^ *^^* would gain honour, and hear in my song what I 

^ay 01 ladies and knights of the olden time " (Orl. Inn., II. xxvi. 

285 



DUKES AND POETS I^ 

entanglement and enchantment, the 
war raised upon Charlemagne by Kin| 
for the sword of Orlando and the he 
(when this is brought to a satisfactory 
wrought by Argalia's lance of gold in 
of England) the subsequent invasion 
Agramante of Africa and the Saracen 
while a third independent struggle rage 
of Albracca, in which Angelica has take 
she is besieged first by Agricane, King c 
by the maiden warrior Marfisa, in whoi 
expressly so stated by Boiardo, we are 
Ariosto to recognize the sister of Ruggi< 
This " third paladin," Ruggiero, A 
is descended from Hector and Alexander 
ancestor of the House of Este. He doe 
the second part of the poem, when he i< 
about to accompany the Saracens in 
France, The opening of the third part si 
intended to bring the history of Rugg 
treacherous murder by Gano of Magan; 
As it is, he only gets as far as the hero's jE 
his future bride, Brandiamante or Bradam^ 
sister of Rinaldo, who is, of course, fighting i 
side. Ruggiero has interrupted the single 
her and Rodomonte with the news of tl 
army of Charlemagne, and, as they bear 
pany on their way, the youth, who sup 
companion to be some Frankish knight, tell 
of his family and his upbringing by the m 
The girl grows madly enamoured of him as 
longs to make him show her his face. In 

286 



req^, 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

- > she teUs him who she is, and suddenly lifts her 



Nel trar de J elmo, si scblse la trezza, 
<-n era di color d^ oro a lo spleadore : 
avea il suo viso una delicate^za 
Mescolata di ardire e di vigOTe ; 
I labbri, n naso, i cigli e ogni fattez^a 
^arean dipinti per le man d' Amore 
^ti (Kchi avevano un dolce tanto vivo 
the dir non puossi, ed io non lo descr'tvo. 

Ne r apparir de J^aogelico aspetto, 
juggler nmase e vinto e sbigottito 
^ senttssi trcmare U core in petto ' 
i^arendo lui di foco esser ferito ■ ' 
^on sa piQ Che si fare u giovinetto, 
^on era a pena di parlarc ardito, 
^n Idmo in testa non 1' avea temula, 
^^^mto ^ mo Che in faccia 1^ ha vedyta 



^ poi cominci6 : Deh I bel stgnore, 
Piacciavi compiacermi solo in questo 
^e a dama alciina mai portaste araore 
t.h lo vcda il vostro visa manifesto. 
^1 parkttdo odimo un gran rumore ; 
^^ Ruggiero : Oh Dio I che sar4 questo ? 
^esta SI volta e vede gcnta armati, 

^'^^ ^^orrendo a Jor per queiJa strata, i 



Ot the colour and «^nf ^a ^^I'^ct her hair was loosed, which was 

With daring and viW k ''^^'*^''^ ^^"^ face had a deh'cacy mingled 
feature seemed oaint^H L ^^' ^^^ ^^^' ^^^ eyebrows, and every 
living s-'^^tness th I^-^ ^ **^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^' ^^^ ^Y^ ^^^ such 

•• Attbe appearin f^''''^^ °°* ^ ^^^^ and I d^cribc it not, 
SLnd dismayed and K^ tt^I ^ngehcal aspect, Ruggiero was conquered 
-to hitft t^t he haH k!1 ^^"^ trembling in his breast, it seeming 
^^^^e what to do u u ^^^*^^d with fire. The youth knows no 

v^ea: head, he had not f '"'^^ "^^^^ ^ ^P^*"' ^^^^ ^^^ ^^'^^* *^^ 
Ixc^ in the l^ce ^ **^ ' fordone is he now that he has seen 

^ Lver bore love to any lady, let me see your face 
287 



W 




DUKES AND POETS 

They have fallen into an ambixsl- 
that follows the two are sepaxa.t:6cf 
never see Ruggiero's face unhelm< 
his hand to finishing the poem. 

It is possible/as has been sugg^este 
of the poem, the struggle of Charle 
assailants, may have had some a.c 
contemporaries, who saw their civilii 
ened by the Mussulman. But it is tl 
which the modem reader cares least. 

Strane av\'enture e battaglie sli 
Quando virtute al baon teiiif>o 
Tra cavalieri e dame graziosc,^ 

— these are what charm us in the 
to-day. Boiardo finds most of his ch^ 
hand in the old romances ; but he in 
adventures, heaps up marvellous and 
ments and sorceries, some of which ai 
air of reality that is, for the momen 
ing. And he is an excellent story 
poetical novette, which, however, it mu 
considerably more of Boccaccio's licence 
of his power of characterization. He is 
in words, showing us gardens and pala 
find in the frescoes of Cosimo Tura a 
Cossa, painting figures drawn from cla 

openly.' As she spoke, they heard a great noi£ 
' Oh God, what shall this be ? ' Straightway 
armed men, who come rushing upon them by 
Inn,, III. V. 41-43) 

^ " Strange adventures and amorous bat 
flourished in the good time, among knights am 
(OW. Inn., III. i. 4.) 

288 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 
j^th the brush of a BotticeUi or Piero di Cosimo. There 
»s absolutely no serious intention, no shadow of philosophy 
o* any kind, to be found throughout ; his one aim is to keep 
»s hearers interested and amused, to whUe away the time 
wlioi It hangs heavy upon the hands of the princes and 
nobles for whom he writes. His attitude towards women 
and sexual moraUty in general is frankly cynical. His 
virtue of virtues is fideUty to one's sovereign lord— though 
fte lets even his Orlando desert Charlemagne for the love 
ot Angelica. Friendship between man and man appeals 
most deeply to his inmost nature :- 

Pid Che a tesoro e piil che forza vale 
m Che a dUetto assai, piA che 1' onore, 
11 buon amico e compagnia leale ; 
*• a due, che insieme si portino amore. 
Maggior li pare U ben, minor il male, 
«)tendo appalesar 1' un V allro U core 

Poterlo ad altrui dir come a afi stesso. 

Aver alta possanza e grande state. 
««ando SI gode sol, senza amicizia ? 
if™ *^" »*tri non ama e non & amato, 
won puote aver compita una letizia.» 

co^i^°'wi'°^l *'"' »">» I"- « !«» al™»t 

BoiL • effective characterization. Although 

^lardo IS jusUy entitled to the merit of having first dis^ 

and morf^^^^ ^°^ ^^^ feUowship is worth more than fa-easure 
To two that bve ^' ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ pleasure, more than honour, 
since each can n ®^^J^.®^^^» weal seems greater and woe seems less, 
seldom or nf+ x ^ ^^^^ ^^ *^ <^^^y <^0"l>t that rij^es, be it 

" What hon^' • ^^^^ as to himself, 
power and M^f 1+^ ^""^ "^^^ ""^ P^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ *^ ^^^^ '*^% 
•^"P ? He wh 1 ^^^ *^®^ ^^ enjoyed alone without friend- 
one iov rvsJ^i X ?y^ ^o* another, and is not loved, cannot have 
J y complete.'^ (OrL Inn., IIL vii, 1-2O 

289 



'I 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

covered in the firmament of love ' 
men mad, Angelica's," he is incapable o 
and self-consistent character. No do 
cal analysis in the case of an Orlando 
be out of place in a poem of this kind 
something of it in Ariosto), but Boi 
conceive of them save as puppets to b( 
ful game. He invests them with all 
qualities from canto to canto, to suil 
vellous adventures that he has founc 
is the same, but to a lesser extent, wit 
Rinaldo, Marfisa (an invention, har< 
poet's own), Rodomonte, Agraman 
less contradictory, because less full 
appeal to us as human beings. Br 
lover of Fiordelisa and the devote 
the most conceivable and sympatl 
minor personages, and one whom Be 
follows with affection. 

There is, however, one noticeable c 
lack of characterization : the ever-d 
paladin, Astolfo, though he is onl; 
and dainty, a mere carpet-knight 
special strength or skill in arms, 
good humour and dauntless couraj 
after danger, courting fall after f al 
of Argalia falls into appropriate 1 
idea of its powers when, at the toi 

* G. A. Cesareo, indeed, in his spiri 
iasia deir Ariosto (in the Nuova Ante 
goes so far as to assert that Boiardo 
another man. 

290 



MATTEO MARIA BOIAiRDO 

of Christendom are falling before the gigantic paynim 
Grandonib, and he goes out to encounter him without the 
slightest prospect of success :— 

Nd gUi si crede quel franoo barone 
Aver vittoria contra del pagano ; 
Ma sol con pura e buona intenzione 
Di far il suo dover per Carlo Mano. 
Staya molto atto sopra de V arcione^ 
E simigliava a cavalier soprano ; 
Ma color tutti che V han conosciuto, 
Diceano : O Dio I deh mandaci altro aiuto ! i 

He can hardly believe his own eyes when he sees the 
giant fall. But, after that, though exceedingly marvellous 
to every one else, it seems quite natural to him that he 
should overthrow everybody that ventures to break a 
lance with him, and his natural disposition to brag finds 
its justification. He harbours no resentment against the 
Emperor for his imprisonment, and but little against Gano 
for his treachery and description of him as the buffone of 
the Court ; but, while Charlemagne and the rest are wild 
with indignation and apprehension at the way this pazzo 
has intervened and staked their Uberties upon his own 
prowess, he unhorses :the victorious Gradasso, and, after 
a not too prolonged jape at their expense, frees them aU. 
And in this spirit he goes through the whole romance. 

Endowed with a marvellous faculty of invention, Boiardo 
had neither the imagination nor the creative power of 
Ariosto. MoraUy, no less than artistically, the Orlando 
Innanmato is on a much lower plane than the Furioso. 

^ ' ^^J^^^®^ does that brave baron think to have the victory 
agMist the pagan, but solely with pure and good intention to do his 

^*7iir ^^"^^®- ^*g^* fi™ly ^^^ ^® ^ ^^ saddle, and 
seemed hke a sovereign knight ; but all those who recognized him 
saia : Oh God, pray send us other aid I ' " (Ori. Inn,, I. ii. 66.) 

291 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

Yet there is one respect in which the 
contrasts favourably with Messer ] 
Torquato Tasso, as also, it must be < 
sage and serious poet Spenser." There 
in the Innamorato than in their poems, 
confined to three places. When youn 
to cross from Africa to France with ti 
King Agramante, the necromancer I 
future glory of the House that the you 
the Christians, and the mighty deeds 
Estensi.* This is, undoubtedly, in it 
with the general purpose of the fal 
passages of the kind are dragged in, 
without rh5nne or reason. In the m 
Fata Febosilla, the valiant Brandimai 
of his struggles with the evil enchant 
sees a loggia of which the four sides 
paintings representing the exploits of f 
House, one side devoted to each : Aldo 
the imperial armies, " at the Adda in t 
Azzo Novello and the famous defeat of E 
Niccold III in his youth triumphing o 
grimage to the Holy Land, his recepi 
France ; the early career of Ercole hims< 
presents his son-in-law with a pavili< 
Sibyl of Cumae has worked " great d 
drous histories, and days present an< 
Here are the figures of twelve Alfonsos 

* OrL Inn., II. xxi. 55-59. 

s Ibid., II. XXV. 42-56. Boiardo, doubtle 
the style of the frescoes of the Schifanoia. H 
the glories of the House of Este is somewh 
old Duke's death we find no mention of hii 

292 



MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO 

Castile, ancestors of the Duchess Leonora; Alfonso the 
Magnanimous and Alfonso of Calabria, her great-grand- 
father and father ; the young hereditary Prince of Ferrara. 
The praises of King and Duke are sung in no measured 
terms, but there is — if I mistake not — a ring of genuine 
f eehng in the picture of the boy, Alfonso d' Este :— 

Avanti a lui si stava inginocchiata 
Buona Ventura, lieta ne* sembianti, 
E parea dire : Dolce figliol, guata 
A le prodezze de gli avoli tanti, 
A la tua stirpe al mondo nominata ; 
Onde, fra tutti, fa che tu ti vanti 
Di cortesia, di senno e di valore, 
Si che tu facci al tuo bel nome onore.* 

These, however, are surely little, when compared with 
the extravagant flattery addressed later on by Ariosto to 
the Cardmal IppoUto, or with Spenser's hardly less fulsome 
laudations of Queen EUzabeth. 

The struggle with Venice had interrupted, the French 
invasion now finally cut short, the Orlando Innamorato. 
A few months, or perhaps weeks, before his death, the pen 
had dropped from Boiardo's hand ; the noble poet was too 
full of apprehension for his native land, too sick at heart 
to carry out his story :— 

Mentre che io canto, O Dio Redentore, 
Vedo r Italia tutta a fianuna e foco, 
Per questi Galli, che con gran valore 
Vengon, per disertar non so che loco. 



Before him was kneeling Good Fortune, joyous in her sem- 
blance. * Sweet son,' she seemed to say, * look at the mighty deeds 
ot such great ancestors, and at thy race renowned in the world. Where- 
iore, among aU, make thyself gk)rious for courtesy, for wisdom and 
tor vatour ; so that thou mayst do honour to thy fair name.' " 
{Ofl. Inn., II. xxvu. 59.) 

293 



DUKES AND POETS 

Perd vi lasrio in <|iiicsto vsjh 
Di mordespina aidente a pen 
Un' aUxa fiata, se mi fia coi 
Raoooutefovvi fl lulto per es 

Harshly, indeed, did fate deal wii 
descendants and in his poetiy. Hj 
CamiUo, died in 1499. Count Gic 
oat the poet's widow Taddea and 
Scandiano, and deprived them of 
** she and the daughters lack even 
them to live." ' Some thirty years 
took the Orlando Innamoraio in hand 
fifadmenio was read in the place < 
Bemi diluted, altered, and utterly sf 
its pathos was lost on the men of a ne\) 
preponderance and the presence of 
armies upon Italian soil had come 
natural order of things. 

^ " Whilst I sing, O God Redeemer, I se< 
fire, through these Gauls who, with great va 
what place I know not. Wherefore I leave 
Fiordespina gradually burning. Another ti 
me, I will tell you the whole in full." {On 

s See the letter of April 13, 1504, from 1 
Ercole on Taddea's behalf, in Bertoni, op. a 



294 



Chapter IX 
THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

^J^HIS friar of ours, Girolamo Savonarola," wrote the 

f A- ■^^'^arese ambassador in Florence, Manfredo Man- 

' 5° I>uke Ercole on December lo, 1494. « has so 

much influence and such great following in this city, that 

it is a most stupendous thing." And, a few days later, he 

v/tote ^ain, describing the great work that Savonarola was 

doing : " He aims at nothing save the good of all, seeking 

for union and peace, being convinced— as is the truth— 

that the city cannot otherwise live in tranquillity and 

repose." » 

From Ferrara itself the victorious progress of the King 

of France through Italy had been watched with considerable 

popular sympathy. Ercole, perplexed and hesitating in his 

policy, was having artillery of all kinds cast with the utmost 

celerity, to be prepared for whatever emergency the morrow 

might bring forth. He probably dreaded an attack, from 

Venice, and certainly knew that he was condemned by the 

public opinion of almost all Italy. The Pope professed 

liimself amazed at the cowardice of the Italians. " May 

God pardon the Lord Lodovico and the Duke of Ferrara," 

sleZ^^^ °* December 10, 15, and so. CappeUi, Fra Girolamo 

295 



! 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

he said to Pandolfo CoUenuccio, wh 
view with him in Ercole's name, " w! 
of this." And when Pandolfo tried 
Pope showed himself convinced thai 
authority could have prevented Lod< 
the French. Pandolfo declared that 
his best, but Alexander shrugged hi 
not ; all the same he is greatly blame 

Ercole kept in constant touch wit 
advance, through his son Ferrando, t< 
sent money by means of letters of 
Rome, where the King stopped froi 
January 28. But when Charles left 
towards Naples, Don Ferrando remain 
on the plea that he had not enough 
to follow the Court with sufficient 
had not paid him his allowance. Ei 
sent one of his secretaries, Giovanni 
Rome, provided with a letter of en 
ducats, and armed with his paternal 
young prince to Naples and present h 

" All these things," he wrote, " ha\ 
ceed from your own negUgence, and : 
give yourself to idleness and to avoi( 
you had followed the Most Christiar 
duty and our intention, you would ha> 
sooner ; the Majesty of the King woul 
you would have given him occasion to : 
when Messer Sigismondo Cantelmo ar 
letter of exchange for five hundred du< 

^ See the long dispatch of November 6, 
Ercole. Balan, v. pp. 414-415. 

296 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

^^ foUow the Most Christian King and not stay there 
conip °°*^^ • ^^ " y°" ^^^ °°* &<* ®" ^th aU your 
'"^thS^h ^^ °^^^ *** ***^® ^°°® '"^^ ^°^ °^ ^^® horeemen 
^^lom V ^^""^ ^^' ^"^ *° '^^^^ ^* hither those for 

^^" WonlH k * ^°^*^y' ^^^''^ yo" have spent more than 
^^^iness , '**'°® ^ foUowing the King. If. by your 
^^^ristian K °^^^*'*' y°»^ *<>se the support of the Most 

^'^'^ you h!^' ^°" *^ ^^^*^^ °* ** ^*** **™®' ^^ yo" wilJ 

•^°*'' j^ ^*** not lost it. Keep weU in mind what we teU 
*^°P« for aalZ^ ""^ ^^'^^ ^°" ^°^ *^ opening, do not 
''■eatment." 1 *°^ *^°™ "*' ^^® * ''^^ welcome and harsh 

^e'^dinan'j!^ *^® "^'^^ °^ *e flight of the young King 

*^® *'^uniph^*^^°^ **''°'" ^^"^ ^<* abdicated-and 

^495), the Dia ^^ ^^ Charles into Naples (February 22, 

^«g has con^*^* ^ immensely edified, declaring that the 

^°<J." and that ^^^ ^^^"^ *^^ " "^ * messenger sent from 

cruelties piactis '* ^ * ^"** Punishment for the abominable 

the former of ^f^ ^^ *^® ^*® ^*ng Ferrante and by Alfonso. 

the Venetian w *" ^^ further states was responsible for 

of Rovigo, whi^ gainst Ercole and the loss of the Polesine 

The turn of th ^^ *^** caused the Venetians to retain. 

God that, in a f ^ Venetians will follow. " But I hope in 

restored it freel ^^^ ***^' *^^' **^®^ ^*^ ^^ *^** *^^^ ^^ 

give it back to^v.*** °^ ^^'^ *® ^^^®' ^*^ '^^^ ^^^ "^ 

seems come whe^^ ™°" *^^ ^^^^^^ ' ^^'^ """^ *^® *^® 

France will takj^ ^"^ "^ ^"""^ *^^' *°'* ^^ ^'"^ °* 

land and in C *'**™ *^^™ '^^^^ *^®y ^*^® ^° *^® ™*™ 
ypr^is, and ahnost up to Venice, for theii 

1i Modena. Carieg^ T^S^^ ^^"'^ '7. X495. 



their 
Archivio 



297 



u 



DUKES AND POETS 

inestimable pride and haughtiness, 
merable vices and sins. Since this 
there has alwajrs been the most bea 
and there have been no snows nc 
hardly any rain. Praise be to Go 
Diarist written this, when the weathe 
out the following month terrible st 
snow swept over Italy — phenomena 
explanation. 

Hearing of the King's uninterrn 
expressed his "singular pleasure i 
sent Ferrando a letter of congratul< 
Majesty, as soon as he should find 
presence : " Let him understand th 
surpassed in this joy and gladness." 
his father a very contrite epistle a 
Rome, which the Duke received kindly 
" If you behave as you have behave 
hope to be loved by us." However^ 
Ferrando and the secretary that they 1 
and that the former had been very k 
King and Court, and expressed his 
understood from the letters of our sec 
Ferrando, " that you have begun to 
and with diligence, and to do what pe 
we have been greatly pleased and conte 
commend you for it, and we tell you th 
in being diligent and assiduous in the s 
and be prompt and ready at the Court, 
you will do a benefit to yourself and a j 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 2 
298 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

as we shall be displeased if you act otherwise." * He bids 
Mariano congratulate the King on the conquest in his name, 
as he doubts not that Don Ferrando has already done, and 
is sending Bonifazio Bevilacqua and Giulio Tassoni as 
special envoys for the same purpose.* For fear of com- 
promising himself too deeply, he recalled these latter at 
once, as soon as they had performed their mission. 

The easy triumph of the ultramontane invader had 
thoroughly alarmed all the other Italian Powers, although 
Lodovico Sforza assured the Venetians that he " would 
find means to send the King home with empty hands." 
Ferdinand of Spain and the King of the Romans, the only 
foreign sovereigns who had a stake in the peninsula, began 
to fear, the one for Sicily and Sardinia, the other for the 
imperial crown. The conduct of the French had further 
exasperated the temper of the people. There was a general 
assembling of ambassadors and envoys at Venice ; while 
Comines— who had been sent thither by Charles from 
Asti in the previous autunm — strove his uttermost to pre- 
vent the League from being concluded, warned the King of 
what was on foot, urged the Duke of Orleans (who had 
turned back after the capture of Rapallo in September) 
to be on his guard at Asti, and the Regent, the Duke of 
Bourbon, to send reinforcements, " because that place being 
lost, no aid could come to the King." Late at night, on 
the last day of March, the League was concluded. " The 

1 Letters of March 1,17, and 29, 1495^ In a letter of April 9, 
he gives him permission to tilt in a giostroy which is " an honourable 
thing and not too dangerous/' but strictly forbids him to take part in 
any vray in another which is to be held at Easter with battle-weapons, 
"because it is dangerous and little honourable." Archivio di 
Modena, Carteggio dei PHncipi, 

* March 18, 1495. Archivio di Modena, MintUario Cronologico. 

299 



DUKES AND POETS 

next morning," writes Comines, ** 
earlier than they were accustomed, 
and set down, the Doge told me ths 
Trinity, there was a League concl 
Father the Pope, the Kings of th 
them, and the Duke of Milan, for t 
for the defence of the estate of C 
Turk ; the second, for the defence 
for the preservation of their own es 
me to advertise the King. They 
number of a hundred or more, and 
countenances, and sate not as they 
tised me of the taking of the castl< 
told me, moreover, that they had 
sadors that were with the King, to 
return home ; their names were M 
and Master Dominic Trevisan. I wj 
with this news, for I stood in doi 
person and of all his company, si 
have been readier than indeed it was 
I feared further lest the Almains h 
not without cause; for if they had 
had never departed out of Italy." * 
The ambassador of Naples — for tl 
was still represented in Venice — | 
" and showed a cheerful countenance 
to do, for these were good news for hi 
Comines watched the procession < 
ambassadors along the canal, " witl 
one of the Milanese, who had hithert< 

^ MSmoires, vii. 15. Throughout this 
translation of 1596, with slight modificat 

300 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

^^^Sijms with him, " made a comitenance now as though he 

^«^:xiew me no more." On April 2, the Visdomino of the 

'Venetians in Ferrara, robed in crimson velvet, formally 

announced to Ercole, on the part of his government, that 

the League was concluded, and that he and the Florentines 

would have to stand alone, unless they joined it. A few days 

later, the League was published in all the cities of theVenetian 

Republic, with the greatest triumph and solemnity. It was 

poor consolation for Comines that at night, after viewing 

the pageants, the ambassador of the Turk " came to talk 

with me by means of a certain Greek, and was with me four 

hours in my chamber, being very desirous that his Prince 

and the King my master might enter together into amity." * 

Ercole was profoundly perplexed. In a somewhat in- 

efiectual way, he had striven against this League from the 

beginning. As early as December, when the rupture between 

Lodovico Sforza and the Most Christian King seemed 

imminent (II Moro being indignant because he had not 

received Sarzana and Sarzanello, for which he had lent the 

King a laige siim, and because the latter had treated his 

ambassador, Galeazzo da San Severino, discourteously), 

Jacopo Trotti had urged the former, in Ercole's name, to 

keep loyal to France. The result was that Trotti had been 

kept in the dark, and only gathered from the long and secret 

interviews of the Venetian ambassadors with Lodovico that 

something of the kind was in progress:* Ercole realized 

that, if it came to war, the actual burden of assailing the 

French would fall entirely upon the Italian States of the 

^I-^^gue, and he was bent upon keeping out of it, while 

remaining, as far as possible, neutral. Since his wife's 

* MimoirBS, vii. 15 ; Diario Ferrarese, col. 298. 
" CI. Balan, v. pp. 419, 437. 

301 



1 1 

0^ 



i 



r 



m 



ikfeft. 



\Vt^-\ 



t'. 



»l^ 



If I- 



At 



ii . I 



•'1 



1 I 



!.' r 



I 1 



^ 



m- k 




DUKES AND POETS IN FER 

death, he had had no one by him upon whom 
he had become incapable of taking decided a( 
moreover, grown scrupulously reUgious. Cl< 
S3nmpathy with the new theocratic republ 
Florence,* he was disposed to accept Fra ( 
phecies concerning the sacred mission of the 
On April 13, the day after the pubhc proc 
League, he perplexed his subjects by on 
procession through all the city of Ferrara, 
any cause or reason — though, Zambotto 
guessed that it was done because of the i 
thing that has not much pleased our Di 
interests/* * He kept the Ferrarese feast < 
the Venetian feast of St. Mark with increase 
on the latter occasion sent his trumpete 
Don Alfonso, when the banner of Venice wa 
to the church of the saint in Ferrara. W] 
in touch with the French King at Naples 
the Doge through his ambassador at Veni 
di Guidone, his great joy at the conclusion c 
wrote to the same effect to the Pope, offe 
in Ferrara, if the movements of the Frenc 

* One of the French officers at Naples offere 
Antonio Mariano, to sell Fivizzano, and the 
Lunigiana that had belonged to the Florentines, 
promptly revealed the whole thing to Neri Capj 
ambassador with the French King, and Rrcole 
his action. ** It seems to us,'* he wrote, *' tha 
spoken to him better than you have done ; \>c 
friendly terms as we are with that lofty Repub 
prdsperity and convenience no less than vre dc 
not have anything to do with matters tliat v 
them displeasure." Minute Ducali of April ^ 
Modena, Minutario Cranohgico. 

* Zambotto, f . 2721; ; Diario Ferratesfi, col. 

302 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 



to leave Rome.* Nevertheless, the people of Ferrara were 
enthusiastically French in their sympathies ; they still 
affected French costumes, looked askance at the Visdomino, 
and shouted " Franza ! Franza ! " after him in the street. 
Reports of all kinds floated wildly through the peninsula. 
Venice and Milan were arming ; there were rumours of stupen- 
dous preparations in France to cross the Alps in defence of 
the King. " The Venetians never ceased to speak evil of 
Duke Ercole and of his subjects, and to work them harm ; 
and they had among themselves invented a song thereon, 
that ran : guerra o non guerra, Ferrara anderd per terra ; 
so great is the hatred they bear us. But I think that this 
present year will not pass before they will be utterly undone, 
by reason of their passing great and incredible pride, by 
the aforesaid King of France." * 

Ercole began to reaUze that, in the event of the triumph 
of the League over France, he would be left alone among 
the princes of Italy, with Milan alienated, to face the 
hostihty once more of Rome and Venice. On the evening 
of May 9, a secretary of the French King arrived at Ferrara, 
late after night-fall, and demanded an instant audience. 
The Duke with some difficulty put him off until the morrow, 
when the Frenchman gave him to understand, in the name 
of the King, that his Majesty intended to return peaceably 
to France, *' without harming or injuring any person what- 
ever," and thought of taking the route of Florence and 
Bologna, in which case the King requested a free passage 
through the Duchy of Ferrara, with provisions for his forces 
on the way. Ercole answered that, as to the passage, his 



v^ **''' ^>«*^« of AprU 14 and May 2, 1495. 
Alodena, Minutario Cronologico. 
Diario Ferrarese, col. 303. 

303 



Archivio di 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

Majesty could have it as he pleased ; 
it was quite impossible, because the 
troops in the past year had utt 
country, and left it in the greatest f^ 
informed Lodovico Sforza of the dema 
and communicated the matter Hkewis 
at Milan and Venice.* 

The danger seemed imminent ; from 
feared lest he should be compelled t< 
one side or the other. At last he dec 
to the man — his own subject — ^who wai 
in the counsels of the Most High than ot 
to Fra Girolamo Savonarola for guidar 

" We hear," he wrote to Manfredo, ' 
Frate Girolamo Savonarola, our Ferrs 
there at Florence, has said things publi 
them in his sermons — ^things which 
needs of Italy, and it seems that he thr 
of Italy. And because, as you know, h 
and a good religious, we greatly desire 
said and is saying, and all the details uf 
We wish you to go to him, and, in our n 
you something about these needs and ^ 
happen, and especially about our afl 
diligently inform us of all that you 
certain that he will willingly satisfy this 
of us and because of his goodness, and 
his native land, which he must still ha 
will all be most grateful to us." An( 
adds : " Besides what we write to y 

* Letter from Brcole to the Duke of 
Archivio di Modena, Minutario Cronologico. 

304 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

teU you to learn diligently what the said Prate Girolamo 
preaches, and the threats that he makes, and what he 
beUeves about our affairs, and exhort him to pray to our 
Lord God for us and for these our peoples, in order that 
His Divine Majesty may have mercy upon our errors. For 
we hope greatly in his holy prayers." » 

Thus instructed. Manfredo had a long interview with 
Savonarola on May 17. The Friar professed himself unable 
to give an immediate answer to the Duke's demands. " I 
must first pray to our Lord God," he said, " that He may 
enlighten me and enable me to tell his Excellence those 
things which shaU be to the salvation of his soul and the 
^nservationofhisState,with the satisfaction of his subjects. 
Wh^ I have done this, I shall write with my own hand to 
JUS Excellence." He still regarded himself as the Duke's 
subject and Ferraxa as his native land, and seemed convinced 
tiiat with the grace of God, he could help both in this 
matt^. "especially knowing how devout his ExceUence 

nT » tI!**^^ "^*' *" """^ ^^"^ "»y '^t'^^^ sovereign in 
h- ^\^ ambassador could get nothing more out of 

wm about Ferrara ; but he informs the Duke that the Friar 
IS stUl keeping the Florentines on the side of France, 
showu^ them that this Most Christian King by aU means 
10 reform the Church, and to be most victorious in all 
"^ ^dertakings.*' * 

J^e much desired letter from Savonarola to Ercole was 

fredo^ r ^^ ^^' ^* ''^ inclosed in a dispatch from Man- 

' '^^^^^•^tents were to be kept a strict secret, and Ercole 

of hia*Sl2l^^thi'Jl'*^^ 5*PP*"i.<'^«'-.P-34S. Ercole speaks 
his th4 dacl^ ^'^' *^"*' ^* ^'"«'«^ ^^ inhabitants of 
'>^tchofMay,8..,,s. /W^.. pp. 347. 348- 

305 




DUKES AND POETS I 

probably destroyed it as soon as reac 
been found among the others in tin 
The next day, Manf redo called upon t 
in Florence, who had just returned 
whither he had been sent by the Kin{ 
to return to the obedience and gove 
tines. In answer to his inquiries as 
doing, Manf redo assured his Magniii 
keeping absolutely neutral and attei 
his own State. The Frenchman higl 
of his Excellence, adding that he kn 
great love and aifection. He was an 
friend to both parties, should medial 
and the Duke of Milan for the peac 
he said, it would be impossible to i 
forcements, that were hurrying towar 
King, turn back when they reached A 
that the real difficulty lay in the King 
the Duke of Milan and would int 
intervention ; but the French amb 
admitting that his countrsrmen had 
in Italy, said that they were all so 
France that each one would exhort 
any arrangement that might be pre 

From Ercole's answer to Savonar< 
clear notion of what the Friar must 

" We have received your letter, a 
well understood what you have writ 
concerning those things that we des 
and we have noted the remedies i 
charity and love. Your letter has 
^ Dispatch of May 22, 1495. / 
306 



i 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

us, and we thank you much for writing ; and we axe well 
satisfied thereat, for it seems to us that your suggestions 
are full of prudence and charity. And although we know 
ourselves to be sinners, nevertheless we shall strive with all 
our power to adhere to your suggestions, and to use those 
remedies that you propose to us. And you, for love of us 
and for the sake of your native land, will not fail to offer 
prayers to our Lord God, that He may lend us grace to be 
able to do all those good works that are acceptable to His 
Divine Majesty and for our preservation and the benefit of our 
peoples. Right grateful to us, too, will be that little book 
which you say you will send us ; and so we pray you to send 
it to us, when you have finished it, for we are expecting it 
with desire." * 

In the meanwhile, Charles had taken alarm, and decided 
to make his way back to France. Towards the end of May, 
he left Naples, leaving garrisons behind him and Gilbert de 
Bourbon-Montpensier as his viceroy, and entered Rome at the 
beginning of June, the Pope having fled from the city at 
his approach. Comines, who had previously been recalled 
from Venice, reached Ferrara on the evening of June i. 
Ercole came out to meet him, and gave him a magnificent 
reception. The next morning, " Duke Ercole went to find 
the ambassador in his room, and together they went to 
Mass in the chapel of the Duke, which the Duke's own 
choristers sang. And then the Duke embraced the said 
ambassador, accompanied him to his room and left him 
there to breakfast. The ambassador was right welcome to 
all the Ferrarese, because the King is much loved by Duke 
Ercole, and the Ferrarese also are loved by the King." 

1 Letter of May 26, 1495. Ibid,, p. 351. The book in question 
is the Italian version of the Compendium Revelationum. 

307 



1 



y \ 



DUKES AND POETS IN FE! 

Ercole rode with him all over Ferrara and 
Barco ; they held long secret converse in tl 
upon the garden, where the Duke passed tb 
June 4, Coniines went on his way towai 
Duke and his ifingmAn riding with hun 
" with trumpets and pipes and great love. 
From Bologna Comines went to Florenc 
with Savonarola : " I asked him whether 
pass out of Italy without danger of his ] 
great preparation the Venetians made ags 
he discoursed perf ectlier than m3rself that < 
He answered me that the King should 1 
upon the way, but that the honour ther 
though he were accompanied but with an 
that God, who had guided him at his c 
protect him at his return. Adding not 
because he had not done his duty in the 
Church, but had suffered his men to spoil 
as well those that took his part and \ 
him into their cities, as his enemies : G 
sentence against him, and would sh* 
Nevertheless, he bade me tell him thai 
compassion on the poor people, and ex 
keep his men from doing evil, and puni 
he was bound by his office to do), that th< 
His sentence, or at the least mitigate it 
that he ought not to think it a sufficiei 
his own person did no harm. He said, 
self would go and tell the King thus i 
he did, and persuaded with him to re 

* Diario Ferrarese, coll. 30^ 
308 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

places to them. When he spake thus of God's sentencCp the 
death of my Lord the Dauphin came suddenly to my 
mind." ^ 

At Siena— where Comines met the King and the latter 

•* solaced himself with the dames "—they heard news which 

precluded all possibility of a peaceful passage. The Duke of 

Orleans, who had been reinforced at Asti, had taken the 

oflfensive and occupied Novara (June ii), in spite of the 

express commands of the King not to attempt anything 

against the Duke of Milan. Charles " therefore was well 

assured that the Venetians would declare themselves his 

enemies : for they sent him word that, if he invaded the 

Duke of Milan, they would aid the Duke with their whole 

force, according to their League lately made, and their force 

was great and in a readiness.'' " He at once left Siena and 

moved on to Poggibonsi, where Savonarola met him and 

dissuaded hidi from his purpose of restoring Piero de' Medici, 

Avoiding Florence, the King pressed on to Pisa, where he 

left a garrison, and advanced thence through the Lunigiana 

towards Parma. 

Ercole, under pressure from Milan, had promised to send 
Don Alfonso with a considerable force to the army of the 
l^e^g^^t as a kind of counterbalance to the presence of Don 
Fcrrando on the other side-^ But the continual passing of 

* Mimaires, viii. 2. 
« Ibid., viii. 3. 

^^^^*^^s dispatch to Jacopo Trotti, of May 31, 1495, Ercole 

sutcs that he cannot lend the Duke of Milan anymore Ught horse ; 

t k ^ a^ut forty mounted balestrietri (crossbowmen) left, 

ti «! ^^y® keeps near him for his personal guard when he goes 
out 01 Uie city or rides in the Barco, chiefly because of the machina- 
twns against his person of the Da Groppo of the Padovano, " of 
wfiom yon know Several were hanged here at Ferrara, when there 
was the afiair of Messer Niccold da Estc/' and the Cotrnts of San 

309 




DUKES AND POETS IN FE 

envoys and messengers between Ferrara J 
camp, the Duke's refusal to go in person to 
in sending Alfonso and the hostile bearing 
towards the Visdomino, had roused suspici 
tion. At Venice there was much talk of 
disposition and perpetual animosity towar( 
of his plotting with France against it ; and, 
Venetian ambassadors, passing through I 
way to Bologna, would not leave their cam 
respects to the Duke. " His Lordship an 
were hated by all Italy universally." * Al 
Milan at night on June 15, with the Coun 
chetti and thirty-five persons of his house 
soldiers to follow him. He took no subsec 
campaign, but remained in Milan as lieuten; 
council and governor of the citadel. 

Seriously alarmed at the threats of the 
had put troops into the Polesine, Ercole i 
that he would give him every aid in the rec 
and protested to Venice that he would lend 
ance to the French in their passage. But 
him. At the instance of Lodovico, as also 
of his own subjects, he madeFerrando am 
Prosperi, who was with him in the Frencl 
the King from his intention of passing t 
fagnana ; but he kept in constant touch 

Bonifazio of Verona, " who would offend us, if t 
of that Count Bernardo who was executed here 
Being so near the borders, they could easily | 
Ferrara, without his having any intimation < 
Modena, Minutario Cronohgico, The Count 
Bonifazio was beheaded for murder in 1473. 

* Diario Ferrarese, coll. 307, 308. Cf. Sanud 
Carh VIII in Italia^ pp. 380, 381, 414. 

310 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

and insfeted that Don Ferrando, who wished to return to 
Ferraxa, should follow the King wherever he went. At the 
first news of a skirmish, he impartially congratulated the 
victor, no matter to which party Fortune had shown 
herself favourable.* 

An ineffectual attempt had been made in Ercole's name 
by Antonio Costabili to make peace between France and 
Milan ; but Lodovico had cut short the negotiations. On 
July I, Ercole left Ferrarawith four hundred horsemen, and 
went to Reggio, giving out that he was going to make a last 
effort to reconcOe the Duke of MUan and the King. The 
documents in the Modena Archives make it clear that this 
was done under direct pressure from Lodovico ; » but Sanudo 
says that Ercole took with him « many carriage-loads of 
tapestry and silver plate. It was rumoured that he was 
going to give the passage to the King, and for this he brought 
these trappings, to be able to receive his Majesty honour- 
ably." Before leaving Ferrara, where he left his brother 

Fprr^^n!!^ *^u "l"'*'^ of J«ne 26, I49S, to Alfonso at MUan and 
r^^^fV, ^^^^'•'nch camp, concerning the proposed French 
P^^thmugh the Garfagnana ; of June 28, to AMo.^. expressing 

S^n I ?♦. "^ ^"^ '^" '^^ K*°8 how glad he is that Aubigny has 
E^^^T"'',*"" ''^^P ""^^ "' P**«"^- Archivio di Modena. 

ExcelW- ^ ?*•* '"°** *° Lodovico : " Both by the letter of your 
wH^^r^! J'^ ^^^ ^""« °* Cesser Jacopo Trotti our orator. 
EO to R^^ ■ """^** ^°^^ ExceUence desires that we should 
affairs atP**' ^^^ **^* °^ person in that place wiU assist your 
lence as •^^™*' ^° ^^^^ ^* answer that, to satisfy your Excel- 
ri<rht'wni^ V" ^^^'^ *° ^ *"»** '^^ ^^' we will transfer ourselves 
not J^iTr? '^ *° ^*8gio, and, as far as it is in our power, we shaU 
&at ri^ -^ "•* **'**" *>* yo*"" Lordship." To Trotti, he says 
" to »v!^S^° *^ insisted that he should go in person to Reggio, 
arm " a *" '"'**^ ''^^ ^ 8oing on in the Parmesano and in the 
army. Archivb di Modena, Minutario Cronologico. 

311 



DUKES AND POETS IN FEI 

Sigismondo as his vicar, Ercole told the Vis 
went to please the Duke of Milan and that 
a good son of the Signoria, but not an 
King of France. But the Venetians decla 
sending powder and victuals through the 
French army, and Corio accuses him of h 
hearted favourer of the French, amongst 
his son as hostage, desiring that Charles 
arbiter of Italy." * 

The King had passed through Pontren 
entry into the mountains," where " Friar Je 
proved true, which was that God would k 
the hand, till he were out of danger ; for it 
enemies were blinded and bereft of their w 
defended not this straight." Beyond Pont 
five days in a valley near a small village, ' 
almost famished, and his battle Ijong thu 
his vaward in the midst of huge and s 
over the which such great cannons and 
then, as never had passed before." * The 
with Gian Jacopo Trivulzio — ^who, exile 
had entered into the Neapolitan service ar 
consent of King Ferdinand) into that of 
for the first of many times, was leading the 
his own countrymen — and the vanguard 
three days before the King's main body, 
great labour and difficulty were convesdng 
over the mountains. " Hitherto in all thi 
Comines, " we had no war ; but now it 

* Sanudo, op, c»/.,pp. 445, 460; Malipiero, A^ 
that Ercole hoped to receive the King in R^gic 

* Comines, viii. 4. 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

Ti^^'T v'-^"""*^ °^ ^^^ League-or. more strictly, the 
a h^df 1 ^ ^*^ * portion of the power of MUan and 
Th*. itr ^^ ^^^ troops— barred their further progress 

him ZZ'^T '^ ^"'*"* ^'^^ ^^ ^"P^™« «>°^^d ' with 
contin^^f. "°*'^^' ^"^^^^^ Gonzaga; while the Milanese 
da ^Z c "^^ captained by the Count of Caiazzo, Francesco 
Rodotfo a«Tr°' '^' "*^"'* °* *^^ ^°^ o* R°b«rto. Both 

the preceSn ^""* *** ^^^^^^ *'*'* ^"^^"^ *^^ ^'^"^^^ ^ 
lieht-arm«^ Syear. With the exception of the Stradiots, 

a co^ "T^ ^^ ^'-°-- - tl^« pay of Venice, and 

finest and ml TT.: """" "" '*^^ ^^^ " ^^ 
"that for a 1 ' "^"^ *^^ ^"*1"^^ *° Isabella, 

honour in ai,y*'Jll^™\^'' been seen in Italy, fit to win 
only suffice f^ enterprise. This army alone will not 
perpetually."* ''"'^' '^^ ^'^'''^' ^"* ''^ ^^^'^ ^^^ 

intwcrsm^'^.'^^^V^'''?''^"'*^ *'' "^^"''' 
Stradiots and th^^^ f "^"'"'^ .^""^ ^"* °« ^^ *^« 

raised the spirits^^ th'lf , -n" J^'^^'^ ^" ^'"'''' 

hundr^ hr.L t * *^® "^^^- ^^ Ferrarese force-^ix 
lumdred horse M^hich Ercole had been obUged to send-<ame 

mained in^^"^** *' "''"^^ ""^ J^^^ ^ • ^"t Alfonso re- 

wi(l*S°manif '^ ^""^^' J'^y 5. 1495. the King himself 
. . _^ . **°<iy came down the mountains and took up 

llT T ? ^*'™°^°- «" ^^ «^^"»P«d in a vaUey a 
which" 1®*^« broad. between two Uttle hills, through 

hardl T^lf i ^^^^' ^® ^^^"^ ^®'^® °° *^® ^^ *° *^® "S^*' 
i„«t i.7 *^®ague away, " so that we were forced to pass 
just before them, the river running between us ; for not- 

^'ttta^uTdi fI^^^' ^^^° *"** Renier, i?ranc«co Gomaga aUa 

313 X 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

withstanding that on the back side oi 
hand (underneath the which we were 
another way that we might have take 
do so, lest we should seem to fly." * 
night a terrible rain, and such lightnin 
was never since the world began : so tl 
seemed to go together, or that this f oi 
inconvenience to ensue. For notwithst 
well that the reverberation of these gre 
foot of the which we lay) made this thun 
indeed it was ; and further, that thun< 
natural in a hot country, especially in s 
they at that present the more dreadful 
because we saw so many enemies encs 
having none other means to pass thr 
battle, our force being so small as it wa 
not more than nine thousand men w 
weakened his power on the way by '. 
various places and sending troops to C 
the League amounted to some thirty t 
Sanudo declares that, the day before i 
from the mountains to Fomovo, Ercole 
the French camp to speak with his Maje 
that the Venetians did not mean to fi{ 
Corio, he sent letters to him to a similj 

* Comines, viii. 5. 

* Op. cit,, pp. 485, 517. It is worth notic 
frequently accused Ercole of going about ii 
harm or to spy their proceedings. Before tl: 
of 1482, he gave an emphatic and contemptu< 
accusation that he had gone disguised to exa 
forts on the frontier. MinuU Ducali per Ron 
January 27, 1482. Aichivio di Modena, Carie^ 

—^ROfHd* 

314 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

mines gives no hint of these somewhat melodramatic 
proceecJings, it seems fairly dear from a subsequent 
statement of his that, previous to the battle, Ercole had 
attempted some sort of mediation between the King and 
A^ovico ; 1 and, up to the last moment, Charles was contem- 
P atmg the possibility of a peaceful passage. The Duke 
waited at Reggio in agonized suspense, while, all night and 
a ® *~r°^"g morning, the rain feU in torrents, the lightning 
\\^^ °^^' ^^^ ^^"^ and the thunder reverberated among 
^stant hills. He had staked the safety of his Duchy 
upon the victory of the French, hU reUgious hopes on the 
^cation of Fra Girolamo's prophecy. Presentiy there 
th ^ \^^^^ °* mounted men through the storm, clattering 
dierJS) ^^^°'^ **"*** ^^^^^' Tl»ey were his own sol- 
Str^~ °" ^^onso's company— mingled with light-armed 
ra ots, flying from Fomovo, spreading the news of a royal 
^ ory of France. In his haste Ercole was for once taken 
f rth ^^^' ^® ^* towards the field of battle to gain 
hilb "^ iT*^*'"'^^' ^^ ^^^ dispatched a messenger to 
hiA^- , Sigismondo, informing him of the event and 
bidding hinx teU the Visdomino. 

to h^^ ^*^*"^ ^^** °* ^^ '****^« °* Fomovo are too well known 
^ De repeated here.» Assailed in the van by the Count of 

aiazzo in the rear by the Marquis of Mantua' with the 
ot the Italian chivalry, the King had shaken ofE their 

* Comines. when ^u-^ 
of Orleans of " di ^ ^^^ ^® *° ^^^' ^^^ *^ inform the Duke 
King and the DnV^^^ treaties that were entertained between the 
t>y the Dulce of ^ ^^' ^ ^nc of the which myself negotiated 
letter to Lodovico 0?^^^*'' "^^"^ " C^^' ^""^ ^^ 7). Cf. Eicole's 

» They are sun^liJ* ^/' "l^^*®^ ^*»^*- 
Comines (vUi 6^? fr ^ related from the French point of view by 
For the whoic lit«^°^ ^^ Italian standpoint by Corioand Sanudo. 
Francesco GonzagT^rt °* ^^ subject, see Luzio and Renier, 
6 »«« oattagiia di Fomovo. 

315 



DUKES AND POETS IN I 

attack, and hurled them back, broken 
" Undoubtedly," says Comines, " it is i 
to meet rougUier than we met." The Sti 
infantry had made the merest pretence 
onslaught, but had rushed ^' Uke flying 
royal baggage. The whole thing had last 
the utmost confusion, in thunder and ligl 
of rain. Charles himself, left alone in 
narrowly escaped falling into the han< 
cavalry. About three thousand Italiai 
including the second in command, Rodol 
was a virtuous and a wise gentleman, ; 
and bare arms against us with an evil w 
took no prisoners, their camp-followers bi 
men-at-arms with the hatchets they i 
According to Comines, the French hs 
hundred men, but Corio estimates the i 
thousand. The Bastard of Bourbon had 
by the Marquis of Mantua, who had sh^ 
as a general, but very great personal c 
the fight. The royal baggage and trea 
spoils from Naples, had fallen into the t 
and Italians. 

A portion of the Venetian forces had 
in their camp in reserve, the Prowe 
in Corio's phrase, " that in this battle wi 
fate not only of Italy but, as it were, c 
because, if Charles were defeated, he lost 
if the Latins lost, Italy was exposed tc 

^ Comines, he. oit. Rodolfo's death is 
sonorous lines by Ariosto, in the poem Ad j 

i. 2). 

316 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

Both sides claimed the victory. " God had performed that 
which Friar Jerome promised," writes Comines, " to wit, 
that the honour of the field should be ours ; for considering 
our small experience and evil government, we were imworthy 
of this good success that God gave us, because we could not 
then tell how to use it." The Marquis of Mantua wrote to 
his sister that he had deUvered Italy, ** brought forth the 
hberation and liberty of Italy," and when we stand in the 
Louvre before that most superb of votive pictures which 
he bade Mantegna paint for him, La Madonna deUa Vit- 
toria, the man's self-deception seems for the nonce almost 
sublime. The battle, the bloodiest in Italy since two cen- 
turies, had been fought on the morning of Monday, July 6, 
1495. 

It must be said that Charles' behaviour was not that of a 
victor, but gave considerable colour to the Mantuan vaunt. 
The next morning, Comines crossed the river and con- 
ferred with the Marquis, the Count of Caiazzo and the two 
Proweditori, about an armistice. But by midnight the King 
had decided to retreat with all speed. Before dawn the French 
'* turned our backs to our enemies, seeking wholly our own 
safety," closely followed by Caiazzo's light horsemen who 
harassed their rear, and at a more respectful distance by the 
rest of the army— which turned off to join the Milanese 
force that (reinforced with Germans and Flemings from 
Maximilian) kept Orleans besieged m Novara. Charies gol: 
safe to Asti with all his artillery, while the boastful dispatches 
that the captains of the Italian army sent to Lodovico 
roused Ercole's warmest indignation :— 

" We tell you," he wrote to Jacopo Trotti from Reggio, 
" that verily we are much astonished that that most illus- 
trious Lord does not perceive that the truth is very seldom 

317 




DUKES AND POETS IN 

told him, and that many hes and things 
to him by the Count of Caiazzo and t 
you have seen, the Count of Caiazzo writ 
pursuing the King of France, and repres 
cally taken, and, nevertheless, he does nc 
do we bdieve that he has any wish to caj 
he can capture him, seeing that his Maj 
be in Asti and wherever he wishes. I 
and the others write and behave in that v 
of doing something, and they make that 
round, and yet the things are of such a h 
that his Excellence ought to perceive it h 
not refrain from having these few word: 
It was muttered in Ferrara that Alfoi 
Fomovo had been purposely put into 
unsupported, that French might destro; 
of his men-at-arms, together with the coi 
da Corr^;gio, had been killed, and the re 
fled from the field, spreading the repon 
defeat. The Visdomino wrote furiously f 
government, complaining of the way in 
annoimced the event and that the Ferrai 
for France in the streets, showing " grea 
the reported rout, and insulting his messe 
itself there was great exultation at the n& 
piazzas and canals blazed with festive li 
of artillery thimdered out the triimiph of 
heard in Ferrara," writes the Diarist b 
Venice the Venetians had fired salvos for 1 
they have had, to make their subjects ] 

I * Minute Ducali of July 14, 1495. Archivio di 
Cronohgico. Jacopo Trotti died in the foUowini 

318 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

have been victorious, and not to forgo their custom; which 
al^va3^ was, is, and will be, when they have lost some- 
^^hing of theirs or had bad tidings, to have guns fired, 
hells rung, and to keep holiday." But there were cries of 
** To Ferrara! To Ferrara! " and on the Rialto the boys 
s^^ig an improvised song : — 

Marchexe di Ferrara, di la caxa di Maganza, 

Tu perderi '1 stado, al dispetto dil Re di FVanza.^ 

The artisans and shopkeepers off ered to pay double taxes, 
if the Republic would assail Ferrara ; " nevertheless, the 
Signoria would not at this time make any demonstration 
^e^Mist that Duke, although while he was in Reggio he had 
sent much victual into the camp of the King of France, and 
haxrels of powder for his artillery, but for which the King 
would not have been able to use it." * 

Ercole now realized his critical position, and, somewhat 

tardily, instructed his ambassador in Venice, Aldobrandino 

Guidone, to congratulate the Signoria on the victory of 

e 1-eagxie. Aldobrandino was refused audience on July 

13 ; but oix the next ^day the Doge and Collegio received 

™m. When he began to speak of his master's joy in the 

VIC ory of tJie army of the League, the Doge stopped him : 

^^ ^rrxiy of the League ? We say that it is ours, and 

we have j>^d for it, and not the League." Aldobrandino 

then said -that there were reports in Venice that his master 

not done his duty at this crisis ; these reports were 

4v^ c^^^^ ^^ Ferrara, of the House of Maganra, thou shalt lose 

a of A ^^ ^^^® ^ ^^® ^^« ^ France." 

banuao, op, cit,, p. 485 ; Malipiero, p. 355 ; Diario Ferraress, 

coll. ^10» 311. It J3 q^jitg evident from Comines that these 

Nene^iB. accusations were false. But Malipiero (p. 363) says: 

" Some carts of the Duke of Ferrara have been taken, which were 

going to the French army with victuals and powder." 

319 



DUKES AND POETS IN F 

false, and Ercole was ready to stand the 
the Doge had the letters of the Visdoi 
expressed his great dissatisfaction with t! 
missed the orator.* " And in Ferrara the 
Duke Ercole, there was made a public p 
no one should dare to speak against the Ve 
had complained to the Duke that it seein< 
looked upon badly by the Ferrarese — as 1 
pride and haughtiness." * Nevertheless, tl 
oured for war ; a crowd of three hundrec 
night to Aldobrandino's house, and ma 
uproar under his windows. 

The Pope had by now excommimicated t 
King. A papal envoy was at Florenc 
insistence with the Signoria, telUng them 
resolved to join the League, the whole of 
against them with good cause, seeing that I 
they were working the ruin of Italy. I 
professed itself unable to break with the 
sadpr," said this wily prelate to Manfredo 
well to induce the Excellence of your Lc 
declare himself openly on the side, of the 
Powers of Italy should complain that 1 
Frenchman than ItaHan. Far better for h 
in the sight of all Italy, than his wishing ti 
as he has done up to now ; for he that is 
against me^^ To this scarcely veiled 
Pope, which was made in the presence 
ambassador, Manfredo answered that 1 
enough to know his own business, and tha 

* Sanudo, op, cit,, p. 486 ; Malipiero, p 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 311. 

320 




iii 







THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 



serve the cause of the Duke of Milan and the other potentates 
of Italy, by thus remaining neutral, than he could do if he 
declared himself entirely on the side of the League.^ 

Ercole was exceedingly impatient to see the book that 
Savonarola had promised him, the Compendium RevdaUonum, 
from which he anticipated much spiritual guidance in this 
present crisis. He bade Manfredo go to the Friar and im- 
plore him to let him have it ; if it was not yet printed, he 
wanted to have a copy taken of the manuscript and sent to 
him at once. " If necessary, we will keep it secret as long 
as he shall wish, and we will not show it nor make it known 
in any way." Savonarola told Manfredo that the book 
would be ready next week, and that he had ordered a copy 
to be printed on special paper for the Duke ; if he had 
known how eager the latter was, he would have had it 
transcribed by hand. And, sure enough, next week the 
long-expected book arrived at Ferrara, in two copies — one 
on special paper for the Duke, the other for his physician, 
Lodovico de' Carri. Manfredo, in forwarding them, explained 
that, seeing that the Duke's copy was something special, he 
had tried to pay for the expense of the paper ; but the Friar 
would not hear of it. Ercole eagerly and instantly read the 
little book through, and wrote an enthusiastic letter of 
thanks to the author. He did not, however, commit him- 
self in any way to the theories expressed in the work, but 
again earnestly implored Savonarola to pray to God for him 
and for Ferrara, " that our affairs and those of our native 
land may pass well, and be under the protection of the 
Divine Majesty." ■ 

* Dispatch from Florence of July 26, 1495. CappeUi, op. dt., 
PP- 360,361. 

■ Letters of August 10 and 15, 1495, from Ercole to Manfredo 

321 



f ."" 



DUKES AND POETS IN F 

The Duke of Orleans was now hard presi 
men reduced to the utmost extreniities 
response to a pressing invitation from the ] 
forward again as peacemaker and mediat 
September, passing to and fro between M 
vico kept with his power, and Vercelli, whe 
lay. Pandolfo Collenuccio, whose genius 
would put the most enterprising of modem 
blush, had been holding high talk wit 
Florence. On his return to Ferrara, he wr 
of the expectations which all Italy had in 
influence vnth the King of France, but un 
in silence the fact that the Friar was verj 
the reality of this peace : — 

" When I took leave of his Paternity, I 
conclusion I should bear away with me a 
He said to me : ' Messer Pandolfo, I shall 
the words of Ezekid the Prophet : And ye 
I am the Lord God. Because they have dec 
saying : Peace, peace ; and there is no peace ; 
a wally and others daubed it with utUempered t 
them that daub without tempering^ that it shaU 
the reply that he gave me, which I have af 
Ezekiel, and it is in the thirteenth chapter, 
to tell this to your Lordship, because it coi 
that you, with your goodness and with 

(ViUari, Savonarola, i. appendix, doc. xxxvi. i, 2 
patches of August 13 and 20 ; letters dated Comi 
from Ercole to Manfredo and to Savonarola (Cappe 
363). The book in question was the Italian vei 
pendium of Revelations. In October, Savonarola 
Duke the Latin version with a short letter (Vili 
XXX. I), which Ercole gratefully acknowledged Qt 
24, Cappelli, op. cit., p. 366). 

322 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

your heart and devotion to God, will be the cause of 
"tliis decree being changed, as in His wisdom God did in 
Isaiah and Jonah. However, the hearts of kings are in the 
Hand of God:' ^ 

Notwithstanding Savonarola's forebodings, the peace was 
concluded in October at Vercelli, between Charles and 
Lodovico. Novara was surrendered, Milan paying an 
indemnity to the Duke of Orleans ; the French ships taken 
at Genoa were to be restored, and Lodovico was to aid 
Charles against Naples, if the latter returned in person to the 
enterprise (Ferdinand had re-entered his capital in the very 
month of the battle of Fomovo) ; the castelletto of Genoa 
(\vhich city, it will be remembered, the French dajmed as a 
fief), as a pledge of Lodovico's fidelity, was to be put into 
Ercole's hands as neutral for two years. It was an insincere 
peace on both sides, and the attitude of the Venetians, who 
nad two months given them in which to enter into it, but 
to whom Ferdinand had consigned six coast towns in Apulia, 
^^as questionable. But Charles was only anxious to return 
o liraace, and left his garrisons in Apulia and the Abruzzi 
to their f ^te. 

^^ isrcole, through Manfredo, had promptly informed the 
^^^ "the War" at Florence of the arrangement about 
Vjenoa. Xn November, he took possession of the casteUetto 
g^rlsoned it with men and artillery — though he experi- 
enced tfci^ utmost difl&culty in getting the necessary funds, 
wmclitxe understood had been promised, from either of the 
high coxitracting parties." Then he returned to Ferrara* his 

^ ttspatch of October 12, 1495. Cappdli, op. cit., p. 406. 
^ IfcWcrs of October 27 and December 10, 1495, dated Milan and 
"Fearrara respectively, to Don Ferrando. Arcbivio di Modena, 
CoirUUio dn Principi, After the battle of Fomovo, Charles had 

323 



w 



DUKES AND POETS IN F] 

faithful subjects noting with approval tl 
good health and decidedly well pleased 
tnotto di bona voglia e grasso^ as the Diaris 
Savonarola had already expressed to M< 
tion of appealing to the Duke to take up 
event of the Pope forbidding him to pr 
1496 found Ercole completely imder his 
attempting to transform Ferrara into an id< 
ance with the Friar's precepts. He bej 
proclaiming a black fast of two days throi 
in consequence of an alleged apparition of 1 
in Rome, to avert the fearful scourges o 
that were said to be about to fall upon Ital 
the example by fasting rigidly with all 1 
days later, the Friar sent the Duke what 
been a printed first draft of his book 
ChrisUanae Vitae, with a letter full of h< 
soon see my earthly country, by virtue o 
bring forth some spiritual fruit." He beg 
little book secret for the present, or at 
others read it mih him in his own room 
revise it. In view of the terrible trib 
rapidly approaching, let his Excellence b 
divine things ; especially let him purge ] 
men, and put the offices into the hands o 
away all power from the evil and infamou 
greatly provoke the anger of God." * 

made Ferrando Duke of Amalfi ; but Mont] 

disregarding the young Ferrarese prince, conf e 

a Ftench noble. 
^ Dispatch of October 26, 1495. Cappelli, op 
■ Letter of January 10, 1496. Villari, op, cit.^ 

The first published edition of the De Simplicitc 

324 



• 



M 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

At Easter, Ercole made a vigorous effort to begin this 
reformation of Ferrara, according to Savonarola's exhorta- 
tions, A strongly- worded edict was published from the 
balcony of the Palazzo della Ragione against blasphemy, 
unlawful gaming, sodomy, married men keeping concubines 
in public or private, letting houses to harlots or their pan- 
ders ; and steps were taken to see that it was carried out. 
All shops were to be shut on feast-days, and nothing was to 
be sold on these days in the piazza, save what was really neces- 
sary. Unfortunately, the Duke went further, and abandoned 
his former enlightened policy towards the Jews. All the 
" Hebrews and Marrani " living in Ferrara and the Ferrarese 
territory were to be compelled to wear the yellow badge of 
shame sewn on to the front of their dresses, and on Low 
Sunday aU the Jews in Ferrara were obliged to attend a 
sermon in the Duomo, at which Ercole himself and Anna 
were present.* 

Hearing of all these measures from Ercole's Dominican 
confessor, Fra Tommaso, Savonarola expressed the utmost 
satisfaction ; but he exhorted the Duke not to rest there. 
** Let your Lordship especially set diligent watch, super^ 
vision and restraint upon your ministers and officials, 
which matters more than all the rest. These are often 
wont to derogate the clemency, goodness and reputa^ 
tion of the Sovereign by perv^er^e suggestions, and wicked 

and impious exactions, and by fraudulent adulation ; 

wherefore such men should be abhorred as enemies of your 

is dated August 28, 1495 j an Italian version, by Girolamo Bcnivieni, 
followed in October. 

Diario Ferrarese, coll. 322, 3^3^ The worthy preacher's elo- 
quence, however, was waited : " On that day one Hebrew was 
baptized, after the sermon in the Vescovado ; but he was not one of 
those who had been to hear the scnnon/* 



^^^^H 

^mv 



DUKES AND POETS IN F 

Excellence." * Unfortunately, Ercole cor 
pably lax on this point, until a severe lessc 
Gregorio Zampante of Lucca, his capt£ 
Ferrara, was universally and justly hate 
unlimited confidence that the Duke had i 
pante " cared not for any man in the w 
the sons and brothers of his ducal Lords 
all the subjects of the Lord tremble," w 
and cruel tortures ; he Uved luxuriously, a 
sum of money from his extortions. Ere 
him and would hear nothing against him, 
hated this " enemy of God and man " 
hatred that he dared not cross the road o 
the Duke, vdthout an escort of soldier 
July i8 of this year, while Ercole was at 
to arbitrate between the Pio who were, 
other's throats, two medical students an< 
entered Zampante's house after diimer at 
and disembowelled him with a dagger, 
they rode furiously through the quiet s 
claiming what they had done, and escape 
frontier, all the people helping them on 
Duke, on his return, made no attempt t 
but took the lesson to heart. A few mon 
an example of Count Niccold Ariost 
guilty of cruelty and oppression in his 
commissary at Lugo ; he was fined fiv< 
ducats, deprived of his post, and declared 
again holding ofiice in the Duchy.* 

* Letter of April 27, 1496. Villari, op, cit,, 
2 Diario Ferrarese, coll. 330-333. Cf. chapte 

* Ibid., coll. 337, 338. 

326 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

In the meanwhile, Lodovico Sforza was plying the Friar 
with honeyed words, while his agents were intercepting his 
letters and endeavoiuing to compromise him with the Pope 
and the King of France. He produced faked letters, 
either written in Savonarola's name by his foes in Florence 
or composed for the occasion by his own agents, and 
sent copies to Ercole, who promptly placed them in Savon- 
arola's hands, through Manfredo, and received the Friar's 
assurance that they were forgeries. Manfredo still pressed 
the latter for advice to Ercole, in the growing rumours of a 
new French invasion, to which the Friar could only answer 
that he would not fail to pray continually to God that He 
would illumine the Duke as to the best course for hun to 
pursue.* 

The situation, indeed, was growing more difficult every- 
day. Throughout 1496, there were perpetual nmiours of a 
French expedition to support the clauns of the Duke of 
Orleans upon Milan and to reconquer the Kingdom of 
Naples, where the House of Aragon was rapidly winning 
back all that it had lost. Comines tells us that the French 
were assured of the Duke of Ferrara's friendship and aid.=» 
Trivulzio was actually at Asti in May, and a French ambas- 
sador, who came to Ferrara at the end of the month. 

Dispatch of April 28, 1496. CappeUi, op. cit,, pp. 369, 370. 
Communications between Ercole and Savonarola continued unin- 
terruptedly throughout this year. Besides constant advice, the 
f ^ ^^^ *^® ^"^® * rosary. " We have received," writes Ercole 
to Manfredo, " the rosary which you have sent us in the name of our 
venerable Fra Girolamo, the which has been as acceptable to us as 
any other thing that we could have received, and therefore we woul<i 
nave you take an occasion greatly to thank him for it in our name.** 
ArcWvio di Modena. Minutario Cronohgico (May 17, 1496). 

MSmotres, viii. 15. He says that Ercole had promised to aid 
them with five hundred men-at-arms and two thousand foot-soldiers. 

327 




DUKES AND POETS IN FI 

received a popular ovation. The Venetian! 
the Ferrarese frontier, alike on the Polesir 
though Ercole assured them that he was 
boundaries should extend to the piazza oi 

The hesitancy of the Duke of Orlean 
Dauphin having died at the beginning oi 
himself the heir to the French throne, ' 
delayed the invasion. But the Frencl 
their alliance with the Swiss had ala: 
Lodovico Sforza and the Pope, supf 
induced the King of the Romans to coi 
plea of taking the imperial crown— in r 
than the condottiere of the League for 
In July, Lodovico and Beatrice met th 
in the T3rrol, whither most of the Italic 
bassadors. Some of the imperial mii 
the presence of the Ferrarese envoy, 
had not joined the League ; and Maxin 
when he arrived in Italy, he would e 
Ferrara to come to him in person, toswei 
reinvested with the imperial fiefs of M 
The envoy protested his master's dev< 
that no renewal of the investiture was 

Maximilian arrived in Italy in Au§ 
greeted by the Cardinal Carvajal in the nj 
der. Venice and Milan were growing c 
each other's designs concerning Pisa, wl 
to keep firm in his alliance with Fran< 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 326. 

3 Dispatch of Dandolo and Foscari, July 
Senato Veneto di Francesco Foscari e di altri ora 
MassimUiano, pp. 784, 785. 

328 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

after excuse for not coming to see the Emperor at Vigevano 
in the Milanese. " He cannot come," said Antonio Cos- 
tabili, who had succeeded Trotti as Ferrarese ambassador 
at Milan, " because he is old and absorbed in his devotions ; 
but he will send Don Alfonso, his son." The Duke feared 
lest he should be bidden surrender the castelletto of 
Genoa and break faith with France. Maximilian was 
indignant at the suggestion that Ercole was bound to write 
to the King of France for direction, and bade the ambas- 
sador order him absolutely to come to him. The Moro 
sent Antonio Costabili to Ferrara to urge him to obey, but 
Ercole for once Mras unshaken. When Maximilian entered 
Genoa on September 27, the Ferrarese garrison in the cas- 
telletto fired a few salvos in salute — ^but only under com- 
pulsion from the governor of the town.* The story of 
Maximilian's abortive siege of Leghorn, the timely succour 
of the French fleet, and the would-be Caesar's retreat to the 
Tyrol in December, need not be retold here. 

Ercole's bearing throughout this episode had estranged 
Milan, and increased the suspicion of the League against 
him. Lodovico's agents professed to have intercepted 
incriminating dispatches from the Ferrarese ambassador 
in France,* and it was universally believed that Savonarola 
and Ercole were working hand in hand to bring the King 
back to Italy. Ercole, however, bade Manfredo warn the 
Friar in his name to be on his guard against circumvention 
and treachery, since " from afar they cast the nets to bring 
the fish to shore." ' To add to his perplexities, the Pope 

1 Foscari's dispatches of September 9, 13, 14, 27. Ibid.f pp. 856, 
S77, 8S2, 896. 

» Foscari's dispatch of September 11. Ibid.^ p. 870. 
3 Letter of November 17, 1496. Cappelli, op, cit., p. 373- '^^ 
warning i»» ^r once, against the French, 

329 Y 



1J 



DUKES AND POETS 1 

had attempted to appoint his owi 
the Cardinal of Monreale, to the I 
when the Duke, who desired this, 
dominions, for his son Ippolito, 
possession, Ferrara was put und 
death of the Duchess Beatrice, on 
tically severed all the ties that hot 
and, when Alfonso's young wife Ar 
grave on November 30, there was 
two Dukes united. 

Very early in the morning on Mc 
sought out Savonarola in the name 
him of the affection and love that tk 
him, and the faith he had in the th 
prophesied. He exhorted him to p 
and implored him to give him som 
what he believed was going to happei 
he should do at this crisis. Savona 
thanked the Duke much for the love 
he had no need to remind him perpe 
for him, as he did so continually, and 
as he knew that he was praying for a 

^ Although it was not until September, 
interdicted, this trouble had begun in 149^ 
December 12) to the Cardinal Borgia himi 
son who was a Cardinal, verily we could 
Bishopric should be bestowed upon another 
Lordship, both because of your own virtue 
as also in respect of the Holiness of our U 
and son we are. But since we have the m< 
Este our son, who has need of benefices, an< 
the first benefice and the most importani 
dominion, it seems to us fitting and perfec 
retain that benefice for our son rather tl 
Archivio di Modena, Minuiario Cronologico. 

330 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 
who Uved like a Christian and a Catholic. As to Manfredo's 

awlr"^*' ''' ^°"^^ P'^y *° ^ f«^ inspiration to be 
awe to give Ercole the light he needed. On the following 
evemng the Friar suddenly sent for Manfredo. and gave 
^ a shp of paper, written in his own hand, to convey with 
he utmost security to Ercole. on the understanding that 

wV ^T ''°'^** ^^^ "*^* ^^«t ^^^ inspiration of his. 
Which he revealed to him « under the seal of confession." 
^n the slip of paper which Manfredo forwaided to Ercole. 
after solemnly pledging both the Duke and himself to abso- 
lute secrecy, were these words .— 

" The Friend is not rejected, but he is deceived by his 
own ; If he choose, he wiU still do great things and get rid 
ot every one ; and, therefore, it is a dangerous thing to leave 
ton I do not think. however,-and this I say of myself— 
that It would be bad to use some astuteness with our ene- 
mies.morder not to enter into any danger, until God opens 
his ey«. We shall aid the affair with our prayers. On 
the other hand, it would be good to aid it with prudence 
by some trusty person who could speak to him securely 
and open his eyes. It should be a religious and wii 
person, and one who beUeved in these things. This must 
not be communicated to any one. because I have not yet 

merit^l this secret from the Lord, in Whomaloneyou must 
»» man, and maketh flesh his arm." ' 

in Florence, and ^ CL^^^- Ercole's bastard, Don Giulio. was 

Duomo. SavonardTw^f.P'?**'"** *^ ^"^'^ ^*™*>° *° **ie 
•» waa also in correspondence with the younger 

331 



DUKES AND POETS 

The mysterious friend, the cLrwii 
and the hint — ^which goes periloi 
— ^is obviously that Ercole stioiiJd 
until he comes, temporize ivith 
urged him to adopt the suggestion, 
but wise person to urge up ** tl 
adequacy of such a message, prof 
a chill to the Duke's heart, and i 
faith in the prophet wavered^ In 
the Duomo at Florence, followed by 
excommunication against Savonarol 
at Milan Antonio CostabiU vigorous 
tine ambassador in defending the 
cause to the face of Lodovico bin 
conceal his anxiety and perplexity, 
his cirde, probably the Fra Tommj 
informed Savonarola that the Duke 
at the tardiness of the fulfilment o 
Friar at once wrote an impassioned 
to persevere in the faith. God is n 
like man, but sometimes proceeds sj 
of the dect and to make more mani 
the reprobate. " Similarly the Jews < 
prophets, because it seemed to them 

Ercole d' Este (the Duke's nephew) and 
CI. Mansi's Appendix to Baluze, Miscsl 
Angela is wrongly styled " Duchess of Fenrai 
Paolo Somend, the Milanese orator at Fl( 
Maxx^h 5, it is stated that this Eicole di Sigisi 
on the previous day to Florence, disguised, t 
ViUari, op. cit, ii. p. 6, note 3. Father Lw 
appears to have confused the uncle and the 
f 1 Dispatch of Antonio CostabiU to Ei 
Villari,^o^. cii,^ iL document vi. 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

foretold were long in coming, and so at last they were de- 
ceived every time, mitil their final destruction by the 
Romans." Let him have Uvely faith, and in the meantime 
reform whatever is wrong in his household and Court. In 
spite of his tribulations, the Friar professes himself confident, 
and urges Ercole to have no fear. " Read the Holy Scrip- 
tures, or have them read to you, and especially the Prophets, 
as Jeremiah and Ezekiel ; and you will find almost every- 
thing similar to these times." * 

" With all our power do we thank you," wrote Ercole in 
reply, " for your affectionate treatment of us and for the 
good suggestions that you charitably offer us, because we 
see that they are worthy of your goodness and corresponding 
to the love that you bear us, and we are extraordinarily 
obliged to you for it. Verily, for your satisfaction, we 
assure you that we have hitherto never doubted that those 
things are to ensue which have been foretold by you, and 
more than ever are we of this firm opinion and faith that 
not one iota shall be omitted of what you have prophesied. 
It is quite true that, seeing the delay and negligence of the 
King of France, and the little care that he has had for his 
own honour and for the weal of his friends, we have doubted 
—and do doubt very much— lest he should not be the man 
who IS to do any notable and eminent achievement ; and 
this doubt of ours is not alien from our faith and beUef 

Letter of August i, 1497, in Mansi's Appendix to Baluze, 
H i!!r**' i- PP- 585, 586. In this same month of August, Sanudo 
descnbes Ercole as having become ** very Catholic," and going 
about in a carriage with his doctor, Francesco da Castello, who 
lollows him everywhere. Also his half-brother Rinaldo "is en- 
- n ^ZT^ *^ devotion ; " but it is reported that, a few days ago, 

p Alfonxo fece in Ferrara cossa assa' liziera, che andoe nudo 
pa: rerrara, con alcuni zoveni in compaenia. di mezo zomo." 
^«w, i. colL 706, 707. 

333 



DUKES AND POETSi 

in what concerns you, because ir 
seen that the King of France of i 
does the things that are to follow ; 
been foretold by you and if "we hsa 
not have failed to believe it also, 
others. And since you have been 
this your sweet letter, we should be 
earnestly, if you would reveal anc 
think and what is your opinion toi 
aforesaid King of France, and wha 
we esteem you so, that all that y< 
believed by us as a thing certain ; a 
desire, we shall take such good can 
us that it will not come to the knowL 
for our greater content, shall receive in 
from and shall be greatly obliged t 
selves continually ready to serve you 
you to be pleased to be a good ami 
presence of our Lord God." * 

Savonarola delayed some while in 
praying for many days for light to sa 
at length he could only say that the el 
of God had always been revealed to 
that he still saw no signs that the King i 
they must trust in God * In the mear 
Nero and his four associates had be( 
courtyard of the Bargello's quarters ac 
Vecchio, for their complicity in the plot 
Medici. Ercole had instructed Manfred( 

^ Letter dated Modena, August 8, 1497. Ca; 

383. 
« Letter of August 29, 1497. Villari, op. cit., 

334 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

the Signoria for their lives, but the sentence had been carried 
out before the ambassador's instructions reached him. 
The Florentines had been bitterly offended at the inter- 
ference of the Duke of Milan — indeed, Manfredo thought 
that it had hastened the prisoners' deaths — ^but they were 
gratified by the terms of the Ferrarese message. In answer 
to questions as to what his Duke thought of the executions, 
Manfredo answered in effect that his master had every con- 
fidence in the prudence of the people of Florence.* 

But, in spite of his assurances to Savonarola, Ercole was 
wavering. The Venetian forces from Ravenna were 
threatening Bagnacavallo, and, Charles not having returned, 
the time for surrendering the castelletto of Genoa to 
Milan was at hand. At Rome, the orators of Venice and 
Milan were openly declaring that, to protect Italy from a new 
French invasion, the only way was to crush the Italian 
rebels— the Florentines and the Duke of Ferrara. " They 
are the cause of the ruin of Italy," they said ; " it is they 
alone who keep the Most Christian King in hope and in 
thinking of the affairs of Italy."' Don Ferrando had 
returned from France, and the Venetians expressed a wish, 
to take him into their service. He had visited Venice 
incognito at the beginning of November, but the Republic 
had, agamst Ercole's will, published the fact. Ercole was 
at length forced to give way and humble himself again before 
the great Republic, and go in person to Venice. But before 
going, he assured Manfredo that this visit of reconciliation 
was only for purposes of self-protection, and instructed him 
to inform the Signoria of Florence that his friendship to- 



2 ??^P^^^^ ^^ August 29, 1497- Cappelli, op. cit., p. 389. 
Manlredo's dispatch of September 9, 1497. Cappelli, op. 



cit.. 



P- 392. 



335 



DUKES AND POETS ; 

wards them was unbroken and un 
ber i6, with his son Don Ferran 
Venetian Visdomino, Ercole left 
subjects liking his joiuney as little 
The Doge received him most graciou 
the conclusion of Ferrando's condotti 
Duke, " that we may verily learn, ai 
the love and affection that this most 
bears us," and made fullest profess 
good will towards the House of Este 

The surrender of the castelletto of 
visit to Venice roused a suspicion in FJ 
adhered to the League, without pre 
Florentine allies. Manfredo found it 
long interview with Savonarola, who p 
justice of the Duke's conduct. A fev 
professed themselves more than satisJ 
the Duke to mediate on behalf of Floi 
the restitution of Pisa ; which he did in 
without result. 

But, in the meanwhile, the Cardin 
having yielded in the matter of the Ferrj 
IppoUto being made Archbishop of Mi] 
Rome, intriguing in his father's interests 

* Letter from Ercole to Manfredo, Noveml 
op, cit., pp. 392, 393 ; letter from Ercole to 
from Venice, November 25, Archivio di M 
Pfincipi ; Diario Ferrarese, col. 341 ; Malipi 
497. " To many it seemed strange," writes J 
Signoria should have wished to give its arms ii 
chief of its enemies ; but with this app6intmec 
rulers of Italy to their duty, and especially the I 
The Gonzaga, whose secret dealings with Franc 
Chiara, the widow of Montpensier) had been d 
cashiered from the Venetian service in the prece 

336 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

and especially, according to the paternal instructions, 
currying favour with the Venetian Cardinal Grimani. Ercole 
was greatly gratified at his conduct. "Your excellent 
bearing in that Court," he wrote, " has satisfied us so much 
that, if there could be obhgations between father and son, 
we should consider ourselves to be much obUged to you." 
And again, a few days later : " It seems to us that our Lord 
God is directing and governing well the affairs of your most 
reverend Lordship, and that you are deporting yourself in 
all your actions with such dexterity and maturity that you 
faciUtate every arduous undertaking and bring it to a suc- 
cessful end." ^ At the end of February, 1498, IppoUto went 
to enter upon his new office at Milan ; but the result of his 
stay in Rome had been to draw Ercole still more from 
Savonarola and towards the Pope. It was, indeed, the 
beginning of the end, so far as the Duke's relations with 
Fra Girolamo were concerned. 

Hearing that, in spite of the excommunication, the Friar 
was going to preach the Lent in the Duomo, Manf redo sought 
him on January 31, and talked to him for a long while upon 
the subject. Savonarola told him that he most certainly 
was resolved to preach this Lent, and perhaps even sooner, 
if It were intimated to him by those who could conunand 
"^' The ambassador was puzzled. " Do you mean that 
you expect a conmiission from the Pope, or from the Signoiia. 
^^^ • " Not from the Signoria nor even from the Pope, 
seeing that he is continuing in his usual mode of life, besides 
I know he certainly does not intend to remove from me 
the excommunication ; but from One who is higher than the 
Pope and all other creatures.'* Manfredo tried in vain to 

tters of January 10 and 22, 1498. Archivio.di Modena, 

^^'^Wo dei Principi. 

337 



DUKES AND POKTS IN 

dissuade him. " We shall wait for t] 
affair," he wrote to Ercole, '* by wJ 
better to judge what foundation it is 
whether it be divine or human." ^ Oi 
came the famous sermon declaring 
invalid and the Pope a broken tool. 
diligently informed ; but the Duke's m 
dared go no further. 

An opportunity soon came for him 
licly. In March, Count Gian Franc 
pubUshed at Florence a defence of Savo: 
it to Ercole, implying that he had writ 
of a conversation that he had had \ 
request.^ Monsignor Felino Sandeo, o 
prelates of the Curia, urged the Duke to t 
himself. The latter at once wrote back, 
entirely from Gian Francesco, protestin. 
consulted him as to the validity of th< 
He inclosed a letter to the Pope himself 
caUing God to witness that he had noth 
pubUcation, and that he had never c 
authority and power of the Sovereign P< 

^ Dispatches of February i and 8. Cappell 
^ Joannis Francisd Pici Mirandulae Opt 
excommunicationis injusia pro Hieronymi Suva 
innocentia. This Gian Francesco was Ercole's 
the Galeotto della Mirandola we have so often 
the famous scholar), had been urged to repen 
in two letters (Marchese, Letter$ inedite di 
124-126), but in vain. Galeotto died in April 
excommunicated for sixteen years and Miran( 
interdict^ but Alexander gave the widowed Bii 
to bury him in church. Diario Ferranse, col. 
* Letters from Ercole to Felino Sandeo and '. 
March 26, 1498. Cappelli, op, cit., pp. 399, 400. 

338 



THE DUKE AND THE FRIAR 

observed that this letter does little credit to the Duke and 
sho^^^rs how impossible a reUgious reformation was, at that 
epooh, in Italy ; but to me, unless I read the man's character 
^^rx-oxxg, it appears a perfectly sincere utterance on Ercole's 
I>ajrt- He conscientiously believed that even the Borgia 
lield the keys of Heaven and Hell. 

^Nevertheless, Ercole followed closely every detail in the 
closing scenes of the tragedy that ended in front of the 
P^tla^^o Vecchio on the morning of May 23, 1498. It is tm- 
certain. ivhether he made any effort to save the Friar from 
liis f a-te ; but it would, in any case, have been in vain. At 
least, he did not sink to dissimulating his heartfelt sorrow. 



339 



Chapter X 

IN THE CLOSE OF THi 
TROCENTO 

FOR all in Ferrara, high and low alil^ 
had remained a saint and prophet 
was whispered that, in the hour that the 
immured in a colmnn in a church in Viterh 
souls of the three martyrs — Savonarola, Fr 
Fra Silvestro — carried up into Paradise by 
that a bhnd man had recovered his sight 
eyes with their ashes, that devils had been < 
nuns in a convent at Florence, and th 
miracles had been wrought after their deatl 
in Ferrara grew very bitter for a while ag 
Dominican order, which had deserted Fra 
especially against its general, Fra Giovac 
of Venice, who, together with Monsignor 
delivered him over to the secular arm. Whei 
ing June, the general chapter of the Friars 
held in Ferrara, the people murmured aga 
refused them their usual alms.^ Ercole hin 
remained devoted to the Order and on most 

* Diatio Ferrarese, coll. 353, 354. Zambotto (f 
Paolo da Lignago (f. 160) similarly bear witness 1 
sanctity, the latter exulting in the evil end of all his 

340 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

with Fra Giovacchino, who had, for the rest, acted in good 
faith. But, indeed, the Duke had abandoned the cause of 
the prophet, even as his brethren in religion. 

On the very same Saturday, April 7, 1498, that the 
miserable fiasco of the ordeal by fire in the Piazza della 
Signoria at Florence had brought Fra Girolamo's career to 
so ignominious an end, Charles VIII of France — the new 
C5mis of his prophetic dreams, the Amico who, he had 
assured Ercole, had not been cast off by God — ^had been 
struck down by an apopletic stroke at Amboise, and " ended 
in a few hours the life with which he had, with more impetu- 
osity than ability, disturbed the world, and there was great 
danger lest he should disturb it anew."* 

But, with the death of Charles, the danger was by no 
means averted. The Duke of Orleans succeeded to the 
throne as Louis XII, and promptly " made known to every 
one what his inclination was to the affairs of Italy," by 
assuming not only the title of King of France, but also those 
of Duke of Milan and King of Jerusalem and the Two 
Sicilies, thus reviving at once in his person the claims of 
the Visconti on Milan and the Angevins on Naples. Borso 
da Correggio, " with a goodly company of horse and foot," 
went as special ambassador of Ercole to France, to congratu- 
late the new sovereign. 

There was, however, a short breathing-space, during whicli 
war raged, not very fiercely, in Tuscany concerning the 
liberation of Pisa. The Venetians, under pretext of freeing 
the beleaguered city from the Florentines, were preparing ** a 
very great war," as the Ferrarese Diarist has it, and invaded 
the Casentino. Their forces were commanded by Duke 
Guidobalddo of Urbino, Astorre Baglioni (who was to fall a 
^ Guicdardini, iii. 6. 



DUKES AND POETS IN ; 

victim in the famous tragedy of the 
Bartolommeo d'Alviano and others. 1 
saw, in their proposed zeal for the libc 
intention of taking the place for them 
extending their power on the Mediterri 
the Florentines. " It is not true/' he i 
ambassador, Marco Lippomano, ^^ that i 
Pisa in liberty ; you want to subdue it ; 
got Pisa, you will wish for Leghorn 
jealous for my State, as you are for youn 
you to have it." ' He refused a passage 
sent money and men to the Florentines 

Ercole kept strictly neutral in this w 
Ferrando, as a condottiere of the Most Se 
been forced to march his troops towards 
his will ; another, Don Sigismondo, was 
Milan as a sort of counterpoise ; while A] 
holiday, si dava piacere, in Ferrara. We 
neither the soldiering nor the enjoymen 
very effectual in this year, as all three 
penalty of their vices, and suffering moi 
from the unmentionable disease that was n 
of Italy at this time.* 

Don Ferrando was as troublesome ai 
source of anxiety to his father in the servic 
had been when following the banner of Fra 
given passage through his territory to the 
to which Lodovico Sforza*s hostility had c 
and easier way of Parma and Pontn 

^ MaJipien), p. 506. 

* On this unsavoury theme, cf. Diario Ferrar 
362, and Lttcrezia Bentivoglio's letter to Sigismonc 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

marched his men through the Garfagnana, and the Venetian 
Proweditore ordered him to lay waste the country near 
Barga, which belonged to Florence. But Ercole wrote him 
a forcibly worded letter, intended to be shown to the Prov- 
veditore, forbidding him to do this, as, Barga Isdng so near 
his own territory, it would seem an act of hostility on his 
part towards his friends the Florentines, especially as these 
latter had complained at his letting his son go against 
them and having given him the passage/ Ferrando's soldiers, 
over whom he appears to have had no control, threatened to 
plunder the Pisans and grumbled against the Signoria, and 
Ercole suggested that he should hang one, " to give an 
example to the others that they be wise," as the Signoria 
had heard a great deal of their bad behaviour.* Although 
he acquitted himself creditably and the Signoria professed 
themselves convinced of his faith, Ferrando was as usual 
very discontented, complained that he was kept short of 
means, and threatened to return home. Ercole was aghast. 
" We are much amazed," he wrote to his son, " that you 
have had the presumption to say that you will go away, for 
we should not have believed that you would even have 
dared to thmk of it. And, therefore, we expressly conunand 
you, that on no account must you go away. For, if you were 
to depart thence without the good leave of the most illus- 
trious Signoria, and it were to be displeased at your departure, 
as it would be, you would not be welcomed by us, and we 
should not receive you here in our house nor give you any- 
thing; but we should drive you away, as one who had 
entirely disobeyed our will and conamandments, nor ever 

^ Minute Ducali to Don Ferrando, July i, 1498. Archivio di Mo- 
dena, CarUggio dei Principi. 

Minute Ducali, August 23, 1498. Archivio di Modena, he. cit. 

343 



DUKES AND POETS I 

more should we see you gladly, beos 
too great and presumptuous." ^ 

For the rest, Ercole seemed absorl 
his buildings. Every day he rode 
sung, now in one church and no^r : 
more bent than ever upon his pul 
quarter of the city, where preparatio 
erecting the great equestrian statue < 
where the rather insignificant monum 
now rises ; he redecorated and restoi 
churches and monasteries. "He k 
writes the Diarist, "by going every 
Mass, now to one, now to another ch 
them to be decorated ; and then he 
bo3rs, sons of different gentlemen, iron 
years old, whom he keeps in his house, 
letters and singing by a master, and he 
everything for them, and he brings th 
room, when he has nothing to do, and 
them.''* 

The carnival of 1499 was brilliant 
peace, with the usual dances and dram 
the Sala Grande of the G)rte Vecchia, 
Mirandola (destined in two months to I 
chief hostess and queen of the revels. 
Terence was first played, with entirely 
decorations ; nearly three hundred actc 
comedy and interludes together ; in one 
of pantomime raised much applause, in wl 

^ Minuie Ducali, December 14, 1498. Arc 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 359. 

344 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

while feasting was attacked by a bear, " who played his part 
so excellently that many thought he was real." On sub- 
sequent days two Plautine comedies, theTrinummus and the 
PoenuluSy were performed, with morris-dances, one of which 
represented an allegory of the pursuit of Fortune. On 
February 12, which was Shrove Tuesday, they danced till 
dark ; then the torches were lit and the windows closed, and 
the Eunuchus was played again with new morris-dances, 
including a masque of wild men and nsnnphs hunting a bear, 
a panther and an ape (that is, men dressed in the skins of 
these beasts), which somewhat primitive amusement appears 
to have pleased the learned Zambotto immensely. The 
Marchesana Isabella arrived a few days later. The three 
comedies were repeated in private for her to see, and, on the 
second Sunday of Lent, the Duke gave a great ball in her 
honour, after which the Eunuchus, the one that pleased her 
most, was performed again.* In the following night, a 
number of things that had been used for the decorations 
were stolen ; but the Duke, who had been in unusual pleasure 
this carnival and did not wish to have to punish any one, 
would have no inquiry made.* It w:as noticed that, during 
the fortnight that she stayed in Ferrara, Isabella gave 
public dances in her father's palace, notwithstanding that 
Lent had begun.* 
Ercole had akeady attempted to bring about peace 



^ This carnival, especially with reference to the entertainments, 
is fully described in four letters from Giovanni Penoaro, a native of 
Parma attached to the Ferrarese Court, to Isabella d' Este Gonzaga, 
published by Luzio and Renier, Commedie classiche in Ferrara ml 
'499> PP- 182-189- There is a slighter account, in which the names of 
the Plautine comedies are not given, in Zambotto, f. 327»- 
' Zambotto, f. 328. 
^ Diario Ferrarese, col. 361. 

345 ^ 



DUKES AND POETS 

between Florence and Venice ; bu 
result. During the winter, howev 
on both sides ; and Lodovico Sf oi 
at the alliance which was in prepar 
France. After some three months' 
at Ferrara, Lodovico prevailed up 
invitation of the Venetians, and go 
mediator — though he seems to hav 
inducing the Florentines to consent t 
to Guicciardini, the Moro hoped tha 
about and by his means, the Venetia: 
of the coming of the French and I 
himself ; while the Florentines were 
pronounced judgment in Venice, won 
a decision more favourable to the V( 
have done of his own accord. 

On March 15, 1499, Ercole with 
Milanese ambassador set out for \ 
sumptuously received and entertai 
palace of his House. The Florentine 
Giovanni Battista Ridolfi and Paolo 
Venice, on March 25, Ercole witness 
son-in-law of Milan had striven to a\ 
damation of the new League betweei 
The ducal palace and the piazza were si 
a great wind was blowing, and a ban 
missed killing the Doge himself. 

^ The alliance had been concluded at Ang 
Febmary 21, while Isabella was at Ferrara, t 
came to announce the fact to the Duke, in it 
and Isabella had instantly written to infon 
and Renier, Delle Rslationi di Isabella d' Est 
Beairtce Sforsa, p. 664. This son of the 
bella does not name in her letter, is young Pii 

346 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

After much difficulty and discussion, the matter was 
absolutely committed to Ercole's arbitration. On April 6, 
he read his decision to the Collegio. He had had a very 
difficult task, and undeniably showed an unusual degree of 
moral courage. His decision was a compromise, but very 
decidedly in favour of the Florentines. The Venetians were 
to evacuate the Pisan territory and to restore Bibbiena to 
the Florentines, with the other places which they had taken ; 
in compensation, however, for the costs of the war, the 
Florentines were to pay them 100,000 ducats in twelve 
annual payments ; the Florentines were to have back their 
old rights over Pisa and its territory, but to give the Pisans 
a conoplete amnesty for the past, as well as to grant them a 
number of fresh privUeges and Uberties, both political and 
commercial. 

Though the Doge and the Collegio maintained a correct 
and courteous bearing as long as Ercole was present, the 
Venetians, high and low, were furious at his decision. That 
night a mob gathered round his palace, hooting and 
hissing, shouting abuse and calling him a traitor. He was 
insulted in the streets, untU neither he nor the ambassadors 
of Milan and Florence dared to appear in public. To 
appease in some part the piteous appeals of the Pisan 
envoys, the chief Venetian senators induced Ercole to make 
a few additions, which did not, however, materially alter the 
decision. In fact, no one was satisfied. The Pisans declared 
that they were more enslaved than ever ; the Florentines said 
that they got nothing but the bare name of dominion, and 
were being forced to pay the expenses of those who had 
unjustly assailed them. Nevertheless, after a long discus- 
sion in the Pregadi, it was decided by a large majority of 
votes that Venice would abide by the Duke's arbitration, and 

347 



DUKES AND POETS 

recall her army and Prowediton 
larly ratified the peace and sentenc 
which had been made without theii 
determined to resist to the last, rati 
Florentine yoke.* 

Ercole left Venice " with the ma] 
as Malipiero has it. When he got I 
13, the officials of the Visdomino to 
insisting upon searching the bagga^ 
plea that the conditions of the Venet: 
observed.* The Ferrarese ambassador 
fredi, wrote that the Pope was am 
Ercole's conduct.' Nevertheless, to 
it must be perfectly obvious that he h 
without human respect, endeavoure 
difficult duty for the peace and welfs 
in this negotiation for an agreemc] 
decision," he wrote to Don Ferrandc 
very best for that magnificent commi 
because of our respect for the most 
Venice, which has it under its protects 
the love and benevolence that we have 
Pisans, and because of the desire that 
peace and quiet of that city and of the 
although the Pisans are perchance aggr 
our decision, yet we doubt not that, if t 
whole, they will be quite satisfied; and 

1 Gnicciardini, iv 3, 4 ; Malipiero, .pp. 531 
Machiavetti, i. pp. 328, 329. This general dj 
may be taken as fair evidence in favour of 
of Eicole's decision ; but Pisa held out until i 

* Diario Ferrarsse, col. 363. 

' Balan, v. p. 498. 

348 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

recognise inore that we have fully considered their interests, 
axid so also for the future we shall not fail to give them every 
l^enefit ajad favour. If we could have done more for their 
a^dvaxita^e, -we would have done it right gladly. But it was 
also neoessaj^r to act in such a way that the result should be 
an effectiial peace." * 

In tlie nueanwhile the alliance between France and Venice, 
for the division of the Duchy of Milan between them, had 
l>een solemnly ratified. The adhesion of Alexander VI had 
been procnred, not without difficulty, by the exaltation of 
Cesaxe Borgia — ^who was, as his Holiness assured the French 
King, tlie dearest thing that he possessed on earth.* Cesare 
lia.d a.l>3nxed the Cardinalate, and had received from Louis 
the rXucliy of Valence, with a princess of Navarre, Charlotte 
d' Albret, for wife, and probably a promise of effectual sup- 
port in liis designs of building himself up a vast principality 
in Italy itself. 

Lodovico Sforza found himself left alone to face the storm. 
He had lioped to assail the Venetians first ; but all his 
prospective allies failed him. Maximilian would willingly 
Ixave txelped, but his hands were tied by his own struggle with 
the S^wiss. The King of Naples promised to send a force 
^;iixder P^rospero Colonna and to assail the Papal States, but 
d.id ixeither. The Turk alone was in arms in his favour. As 
-tc> th^ minor Powers, the Florentines remained neutral, and 
ooixt:iixned the siege of Pisa. 

"ErX-c^ole, since the death of Beatrice, had grown more and 

xi^.or-e alienated from the Sforza ; to the Moro's appeal for 

^^d.> lae answered that the frontiers of Venice were too near 

'^^ X-etter of April 19, 1499. Archivio di Modena, CarUggi^ d^i 
'f>r^ncipi^ See Appendix II. document 18. 

« :Briei of September 28, 1498. Pastor, iii. p. 417. 

349 



DUKES AND POETS 

the gates of Ferrara, and that he z 
In spite of a request from Ippolit 
in his diocese of Milan and wannJ 
the Sforza — ^he refused to allow Gi 
Lodovico's condottieri, a safe-con< 
the Modenese.^ He was aghast 
Ippolito was having a suit of whit< 
the intention of personally fighting 
professed himself exceedingly scan 
conduct in a prelate of the Church 
'' If we still have any paternal au 
ship, we command you to desist fr< 
and to strive to live like a good i 
reverend Cardinal. If, perchance, ; 
you that, by arming, you could give 
illustrious Lord Duke of Milan or ben< 
that he who gave such advice loves : 
your Lordship less. For your taking 
our Lord God and provoke Him to a 
Him contrary to the side for which ) 
you wish to help the said most excel 
all should wish), let your Lordship 
Pray to our Lord God for the safe 
Excellence and of his armies, and mal 
secular clergy throughout your provij 
yourself at these prayers, as is your 
mission. These will be good white an 
irregularity and with great merit. If 3 
commit a mortal sin and be worthy 
And if you were present when any one 

* Letter of August 7, 1499. Archivio d 
Prindpi. 

350 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

be irregular ; because it is not lawful for simple clerics to 
combat, save for the necessary defence of their persons, when 
they are assailed by others and cannot otherwise escape ; 
much less is it lawful for a Cardmal and Archbishop. And 
you must consider that every little unpoptdarity which you 
have at Rome will, in these cases (as could easily happen), 
exaggerate your sin ; besides the infamy and the in- 
dehble stain which you would acquire from it, and the 
danger of your Ufe or of the mutUation of some limb. Then 
fear our Lord God and acknowledge His benefits ; remember 
that, if you do not keep His commandments and if you are 
not grateful to Him, He will make you recognize your error 
by the sword of His justice. And if it seems to Him that 
your excess does not merit mercy (as this would not merit 
it, bemg only too contrary to the Christian faith and religion). 
He will do worse to you." ^ 

The French army under Trivulzio and Ligny had crossed 
the Alps in July, and begun hostiUties in August. Lodo- 
vice's resistance coUapsed. Fortress after fortress fell be- 
fore them, and the surrender of Alessandria showed that all 
was lost. Although the Turk was preparing to assail them 
in the FriuU, the Venetians crossed the Adda and occupied 
Lodi. Deserted by the Marquis of Mantua and by the Count 
of Caiazzo, Lodovico fled from Milan to Como, and thence 
made his way to join MaximiUan in the Tyrol. On 
September 6, Trivulzio and the royal army entered Milan 
without any resistance ; " and of the Duke of Milan men 
spoke no more, even as though he had never been in the 

T>IJ^^ f ^^^^^ ^^' ^499. Archivio di Modcna, Carteggio dei 
j-rjnctpt AS this long letter is a characteristic example of the tor- 
tuous aiicl strange ways in which Ereole's mind and heart worked 
to wnat TOs, no doubt, a perfectly just and proper conclusion, I 
give the full text in Appendbc II. d^ument 20^^ ^ 

351 



DUKES AND POETS I^ 

world/' ^ Cremona surrendered to tfa 
later. King Louis himself made his 
the Lombard capital. 

On the news of the fall of Milan, 
his ambassador, Ettore Berlinghieri, 
assure him of his fidelity to the cause 
allied to the contrary are mere fictit 
Venetians, " in order that they may m< 
according to their appetite, although fr 
received any offence or injury." " B 
lent us grace that, also in this enterpri 
Most Christian King for the Duchy of 
severed in the devotion that we have a 
his Majesty and towards the Crown of ] 
lent any aid to the most illustrious Loi 
anjrthing — ^not of our men-at-arms, n< 
not of cannons nor of shot, for which tl 
many times besought us ; and because 
him, he complained of us publicly, as ca 
hundred gentlemen in Milan." It is tni< 
who was in the Duke's service before th( 
between him and the Crown of France, 1: 
to send his soldiers who were in Lodovico 
is convinced that neither the King nor ' 
sider that he has failed in his duty to his ] 
this, especially as he has not allowed Dc 
to serve his enemy. He has postponed 
Lodovico for his faith and devotion t( 
Christian Majesty ; and if the latter and 
judge his actions fairly, they must not 1 
what they hear from Venice against him, 
^ Diano Ferrarese, col. 369. 

352 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

firmed from another source. In answer, Trivnlzio strongly 
advised Ercole to come in person and do reverence to the 
King on his arrival in Milan ; which the Duke decided to do, 
especially as he heard that Louis was going to take Ferrara 
under his protection. " When we shall find ourselves in the 
presence of his Majesty," he wrote to Manfredo Manfredi, 
who was still his orator to the Republic of Florence, " while 
we act for ourselves, we shall not omit likewise to do all we 
can for the benefit of that lofty Signoria." ^ 

Accordingly, Ercole, with his sons Alfonso and Ferrando, 
hastened to meet the King, and accompanied him in his 
triumphal entrance into Milan. The Cardinal Ippolito had 
shared Lodovico's flight mto the Tyrol. With the exception 
of King Federigo of Naples, all the Italian princes, either 
in person or by their ambassadors, had come to congratulate 
the French conqueror, or to make their peace with him. 
The Florentines found the greatest difl&culty in this respect ; 
but Ercole, who stayed in Milan nearly a month and was 
treated by the King with special marks of confidence and 
esteem, found that he, too, had to pay a large sum of money 
before he could get his duchy taken under the royal pro- 
tection—his conduct, since he had consigned the castelletto 
of Genoa into the hands of Lodovico Sforza, being regarded 
as unsatisfactory .« His Majesty took particular exception 
to the fact that Ippolito was still with the fugitive Duke, 
and Ercole dispatched one of his chancellors, Gian Giorgio 
Seregnio, with an imperative letter to the Cardinal, bidding 
him return without delay, " come flying,'' to Italy. " If 

^ Minute Ducali of September 14 and 21, 1499, to Ettore Ber- 
Imghicn, and of September 23 to Manfredo Manfredi. Aichivio di 
Modena, MinutaHo Cronohgico. 
So at least Guicciardini, iv. 4. 

353 



DUKES AND POETS IM 

you do not return, you will lose your l 
in this dominion, and will put us in±t 
our State, without any fruit or benefii 
illustrious Lord Duke. And, theref c 
command you by our paternal author 
excuses or delay or any loss of time, y o 
and as quickly as Gian Giorgio himseJ 
your return imports more than we c^lh 

Giovanni Bentivoglio, who was rej 
Annibale, was compelled to obtain the 
for his House for a similar financial coi 
of his previous oscillations between Fr 
the Marquis of Mantua, who had met 
appears to have experienced less diffic 
honours upon him, and took him into 
stipend of twelve thousand francs.* 

But, indeed, the royal protection was 
tivdy needed by both Ferrara and Bolog 
henceforth in virtue of his new French 
II Valentino, was in the company of tli 
his favour. He had large schemes on h 

The Pope had resolved to take this 
alliance with France to build up for his < 
— to devdope, perhaps, into a kingdon 
feudatories of Romagna, the petty tyn 
Romagnole cities as vicars of the Chur 
lished Bulls dedaring that Pandolfo Ma 
Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro (but latdy 



1 Letter dated Milan^ October 21, 1499. ^ 
Carteggio dei Principi. Ippolito returned to Fe: 

* Cf . L. G. P61issier, La Politique du Marquis 
la luite de Louis XII et d0 Ludovic Sforxa, pp. 9 

354 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

son-in-law), Caterina Sforza Riario and her young sons who 
ruled Imola and Forli, Astorre Manfred! of Faenza, Duke 
Guidobaldo of Urbino, and the Varani of Camerino had 
forfeited their fiefs, for not having paid the tributes due to 
the Holy See. According to the promise he had made, the 
French King put at Cesare's disposal 300 lances under Yves 
d' Alldgre, at his own cost, and 4,000 Swiss to be paid by the 
Pope— nominally to recover those revolted cities for the 
Holy See, in reality to conquer them for the Borgia. 

Included Ukewise in Romagna were Ravenna and 
Cervia ; but these had passed in the earlier part of the 
century into the hands of Venice, the ally of France, against 
whose power nothing could be attempted. His ducal rank 
and his position among the princes of Italy differentiated 
Ercole d' Este from his Romagnole neighbours. Alexander 
seems, indeed, for a moment to have contemplated the pos- 
sibility of grasping Ferrara for his son ; but the opposition 
of Venice and the protection of France compelled him to 
abandon the project.^ Bologna also, strictly speaking, was 
a city of the Papal States ; Giovanni Bentivoglio ruled it, not 
as vicar of the Church, but as a sort of informal head of the 
Republic ; it seemed an equally tempting prize, and one far 
easier of acquisition than Ferrara. Here, too, however, 
there was the newly acquired French protectorate in the 
way. Nevertheless, both Ercole and the Bentivoglio realized 
their danger. 

But neither of them ventured to cross the dreaded Borgia's 
path. Ercole gave Cesare's French and papal auxiliaries 
the passage through his dominions, both through Ferrara 
and the Modenese— Cesare himself with the main body 
taking the latter course. This was in November. At Bon- 
^ C£. Pastor, iii. p. 425, note 5. 
355 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

deno, in the Ferrarese territory, a p 
the place, murdered the ducal Podi 
Bendedei, with several ecclesiastics ai 
persons, and hung out the banners of t 
of France on the castle ; and they repeal 
or worse, a few hours later in the Borgo 
was helpless : ^' we had to have pati 
rendered to the Borgia at the end o 
weeks later, he was lord of Forll, and M; 
sent as prisoner to Rome. His further | 
by the recall of his French troops. 1 
brutalities of the French and the prep< 
whom the King had left in his stead, the 
at the approach of Lodovico and the Cai 
a hastily collected force of Swiss and 
February, 1500, the Sforza were once moi 
Two days before Lodovico re-entere( 
news of the revolution in Milan reached 
of Ercole's French policy, the Moro h 
in Ferrara (his conduct in the matter of th< 
had been forgotten), and there was much 
evening a mad Servite monk. Era Harcellc 
the streets, beating a drum and followed b> 
Shouting " Moro I Moro I '' they went to 
Venetian Visdomino, and made a tremendc 
door. The outraged functionary protested 1 
there were hints of possible complications \ 
Venice. On the following afternoon, first fi 
of the Palazzo della Ragione and afterwards 
city, it was solenmly proclaimed to the sou 

* Diario Ferrame, col 27$. 
356 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

that the Duke's Excellence was greatly displeased at what 
had happened, and that he commanded that for the future, 
in Ferrara and its suburbs, no one should dare to name 
or talk of any Lords or Kings whatever, under penalty 
of a fine of a hundred gold ducats for each adult offender, 
or more according to his Lordship's discretion, and, in the 
case of boys, a sotmd whipping, twenty-five staffUcUCy for 
each of them/ 

Ercole, realizing the purely ephemeral character of Lodo- 
vico's success, sent Giovanni Valla as special envoy to the 
French King. Avoiding the towns obedient to Milan, he 
was to go, with all possible diligence and speed, into the 
presence of the Most Christian King, to assure him that the 
Duke had abstained from rendering favour or aid of any 
kind to Lodovico, " although he is our son-in-law and his 
sons are our grand-children." He was to lay stress upon 
the kind reception and treatment that the French troops had 
experienced in passing through the ducal territory, although, 
for the abominable cruelties and atrocities that they 
committed, " they would deservedly have all been cut to 
pieces by otu* subjects." He was to deny emphatically that 
Ercole had held any communication with Lodovico before 
the latter returned into Italy, or that he had sent 
any ambassador to the King of the Romans, or ever sent to 
Lodovico the least invitation to come back ; he had not 
lent him the slightest assistance in his return. But the 
Duke complained bitterly of the way in which the Venetians 
had calumniated him, both with the King and with his 
ministers, and of the unfriendly attitude of the Cardinal of 
Rouen. " We have persevered in our faith with his Majesty, 



* Diario Ferrarese, col. 378. 
357 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

both before and after the return of tb 
Italy, as is notorious to all Italy. So 
severe, if his Majesty perseveres in 1 
protection truly and sincerely, as is a 
Majesty, and not in words only and wi 

The triumph of the Moro was brief 
ments and a new general, la Tr^moill 
fresh h^sart into the royal army. At 
Swiss refused to fight against their count 
army, and, on April lo, the hapless Du 
the French, as he passed out of the city c 
as a Swiss. Sent as a prisoner to France 
to the King's presence, he expiated his i 
that long living death in the castle of 1 
prison thus inclosing the thoughts and 
whom first the boundaries of aU Italy coul 
Betrayed to the Venetians and by 
to the French, the Cardinal Ascanio foi 
prisonment at Bourges, and was released 
to take part in the Conclave on the death 

Ercole had carefully abstained from rend 
assistance to Lodovico in his restoration, ai 
nothing to fear from his fall. Giovanni Va 
the King on his victory, and assured him t 
favoured and assisted him in his affairs mor 
done who had shared in the gains [i.e. the V 
that he had persuaded all those who could it 
not to lend aid to the Lord Lodovico, of 
Lodovico had himself publicly complaine 

^ Istruiione a Giovanni Valla, March 2, 1500. Art 
CarUggio degli Ambasciaiori — Francia. 
' Guicciardini, iv. 5. 

358 



ri. 



\ 



IJJ THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

^ed that he held Ercole " for his good friend, and for a 
* • and excellent I^ord ; '* but he complained of the bearing 
"^^c Marquis of M:ani:iia.^ 

T4^ was the year of J -labilee, and the corruption in the Church 

the Curia had ire3-ched its height. The pilgrims, who 

^^ ired to Rome for -the indulgences, saw with amazement 

^ Borgia ti:iixm.i>lxing as the conqueror of Forli and 

^^^ and receiving t:lxe Golden Rose from the hands of the 

' jTrantic pa-pal rejoicings hailed the overthrow of 

* ^*^ :^ge of Siora53-. In August, Lucrezia Borgia's second 

^Viand, *^^ yoiixxg Alfonso of Bisceglie, was strangled in 

1^^^ ^caXi by Cesaxe's orders. The scandal of the Pope's 

^.^^ life ^^ rctrxewed.* " The Pope," said Paolo Cap- 

P^^ ^j^e o^ *^^ Venetian ambassadors, on his return to 

P^^' 2, tnontViL a.fter young Alfonso's murder, "grows 

^^^^ er evcty daty ; his reflections do not last a night ; he 

yoting ^^ ^^g^ and. is of a happy natmre, and only does what 

vf^^ ^ 0^m advantage ; his whole thought is to make his 

is ^^ great, and he cares about nothing else." * Yet 

cbi* ^cr« some that, with a full knowledge of all that was 

tb^^ ^gx^ ^^^ though themselves in personal danger, came 

iri P -^ternal City, rather than lose the indulgence of the 



to 



tJie 



.^^tch oi Giovanni Valla, May 20, 1 500. Archivio di Modena, 

% l^*^?^iJ^gK Ambiuciatori — Francia. In spite of his aUiance with 

^g^i^^^^^ Gatktai%9> had been treating with both Maximilian and 

■ ■ t-m^\^^^* atfMffm^ «%T*A \%*%A aAn4- \\ia Vv^f\4'\\^f n«/v«po*in« fZ^\T><mera t-t^ 



jT^-^**^^^ Siorza, and had sent his brother, Giovanni Gonzaga, to 

j^/o^^^^ th« lalter's army. Louis at first thought of depriving him 

^^1^^ ^^tuai**^^ making it over to the Venetians in exchange for 

o^ ^*^^ »J^^ *^® ^^*" ^' ^^^' ^^^ ultimately contented himself with 

^^en^*^^ j^ heavy pecuniary fine. See P^lissier, op. cU,, pp. 103- 115. 

VO*^^*^astor, iii- P- 43i. note 2. Giulia Famese resumed relations 

• ^^* p^^, who also " favoured " one of Lucrezia's damsels. 

^^^^aiione foia im pregadi, per Sier Polo Capelo, Sanudo, Diarii, 

*** 359 



DUKES AND POETS W 

Jubilee though granted by a Borgi 

betta of Urbino, though her House ^ 

out by Cesare for destruction, came 

fitting visitation of the churches ore 

Jubilee," as she herself puts it in h 

the Marquis of Mantua, who ha 

dissuade her from going.^ Under 

Colonna, she fulfilled the conditions, ^ 

to Urbino. The alms of the pilgri 

Cesare Borgia, for his projected 

The one papal action during the ye 

lutdy unworthy of a Christian sov 

one who claimed to be the Vicar of 

of Peter, was the attempt to or 

against the Turks — ^who were beat 

land. But here, too, it is impossible 

Pope was moved, in part at least, I 

support of the Venetians for the de 

" As I doubt not that your n 

knows well," wrote Giovanni Bent 

infirmity has need of a better and i 

and it would be necessary that ou 

pertains the government of our ] 

Christ did, when He said : For I ha\ 

And this would be more to the pou 

to disturb the poor lords of Roma, 

keeping this harassed Italy in so 

some are induced rather to desire tl 

1 Of. Gian Francesco's letter, of Man 
Renier, Mantova e Urbino, p. 105, and 
from Assisi, March 21, in Gregorovius, 
20. 

360 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

than to think of opposing them in any way. But if this 
private passion be put aside, and thought be taken for the 
universal good and for the conservation of the Faith and 
our Religion, I am certain that lords and communes and all 
men will be found excellently disposed to do all that shall 
be needed/' ^ 

At the beghining of the year, Ercole had announced his 
intention of going in person to Rome for the Jubilee, " For 
many years," he wrote to the Marchesana Isabella, '' we 
have thought and almost firmly intended to go to Rome 
for tlxis JubUee, if our Lord God in His grace aUowed us to 
reach this year. And so we have decided to depart at once 
and to S^ ^^ a small company, with the intention of 
returning quickly to avoid the concourse of the multitude. 
We hstv^^ wished to give particular notice of this thing to 
your I-.3^dyship, in order that you may know this delibera- 
tion of ours, and can tell us if you desire anything from us 
in this our voyage. Do not omit to pray, and to have 
prayers offered up to our Lord God, for our safety," ^ But 
a fall from his horse had delayed his departure, and subse* 
quent events— the Borgian invasion of Romagna and the 
1 Letter of September 19, 1500. Dalian, pp. 192, 193. 
s Letter of January i, 1500. The same day he gave notice to the 
Pope, to '^^ various ambassadors and others, of his intention of 
^oing immediately to Rome, " to satisfy a singular devotion of ours, 
and to gaii* ^^ indulgence and plenary remission of our sins." He 
Jiad previously, on December 29, been in negotiation with the 
Cardinal of San Giorgio, who was then in Florence, to borrow his 
palace io ^°°^®> the present Palazzo della CanceUeria, " for ten 
days at tlie longest, with the beds and all the things of the kitchen. 
VVe sliall go with few persons and not more than fifty horses, because, 
as we ^^^^ making this journey for our devotion, we wish to go as 
pilgrims." Minute Ducali of December 29, 1499^ and January 1, 
I SCO' Archivio di Modena, Minutario Crotwlogico. 

361 A A 



DUKES AND POETS 

fate of the Milanese duchy — indi 
idea. 

Instead, he had solemn processi 
cities of his duchies in March, to 
upon Italy and the liberation 
Turks ; and he had them repeatec 
good reasons known to him and 
to keep on good terms with God, 
put it. On the latter occasion, 
place one on every third day in Fen 
in front, with more than four tho 
white, each bearing a banner up 
image of Christ. Then came tl 
Bishop of Ferrara, followed by th< 
Duke on foot, and, at the last, Er< 
because he was still unable to \ 
thousand persons took part ii 
Whitsuntide a revivalist preachei 
from the convent of the Angeli, p 
the Duomo, and exhorted the p 
consequence of his eloquence, 
solemnly proclaimed from the win 
Ragione, to forbid the keeping 
forbidden games, blaspheming G 
Saints, openly or in secret, con 
difficult to imagine that the dec: 
effect in an Italian city of that c 

* Diario Ferrarese, coll. 385, 386 ; 
194* 195- Tomasino de' Bianchl givej 
procession in June at Modena, in ax 
chronicle, pp. 269-273. 

* Diario Ferrarese, col. 387. 

362 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

The fact was that Ercole himself was at this time in bad 
healtby very anxious about all things, and much concerned 
with the afiairs of his soul. Disappointed at the failure of 
the reforms that seemed promised by Savonarola, dis- 
illusioxied by the nonfulfihnent or the method of fulfilment 
of the Friar's prophecies, he had thrown himself heart and 
soul ixito a very remarkable religious movement — a move- 
ment ±<yo littl® noticed by Church historians — ^which may 
be sai<i to have come to a head in this year. 

Th^ cbi®^ 211111 of this movement was to fight the corrup- 
tion i^ *^^ Church and in human society, to oppose the 
degrad^^^*^ ^^^ immorality of the Curia, no longer by the 
'olcat tirades of a Savonarola, but by a revival of the 
-y. ^^ St. Catherine of Siena. More than a hundred years 
before ^^^ ^^^ striven to heal the wounds of Italy ; she had 
ttemt>t^ to unite the Powers of Christendom against the 
T rk • sb^ ^^^ hidden high and low strip themselves of self- 
f e exiter the cell of self-knowledge ; she had denounced 
hvxtii'^ words the corruption of the clergy ; she had 
ed th^ Pop^> in Christ's name, to think of souls and not 
f cities, ^^ choose between the Temporal Power and the 
<i5ilvatioti of souls. In her words seemed to many the very 
medy ^^^ *^^ malady of these new times. And this year 
i Tuhilee ^^ chosen by " certain devout servants of God " 
brit^K out her letters, as a protest against the hideous 
tate of things in the Church. Aldo Manuzio, the pub- 
lisher, m^uie himself their spokesman, in a letter dated 
from Venice, September 19, 1500, to Francesco Piccolomini, 
the Cardinal Archbishop of Siena. "I pray you," he 
,^^tes, ** *^ communicate these sacred epistles to the 
rtoltoess of the Pope, in order that he may consider the 
i>istles sent to Pope Gr^ory XI and Pope Urban VI as 

363 



DUKES AND POETS II 

written to his Holiness. Moreover 
Lordship show those that were seni 
the Cardinals of our own time, in ore 
by that Sacred Virgin, inspired by 
carried out for the reformation of \ 
the Crusade may be made against 
viour promised this to her, when 
ardent prayers, and, since it has i 
all means, because God cannot lie 
But this movement had a f ar n 
tation than in letters alone. Whi 
day crucifying Christ anew in Roi 
over Italy, robed in the black ai 
Catherine had worn, bearing in t 
and feet and side — ^the wounds of 
of them professed to be in consi 
with Catherine herself, and all, to 
imitated her mode of life, had id 
renew her work. Even as God 
sent holy men and prophets — thus 
little tract in the publication o 
doubtedly concerned * — " so, in th 
extreme daily adversity. He woulc 
people ; but now, for the joy of t 
the wicked and the strengthening 

1 Letter prefixed to the first Aldine 
tissime de Sancta Catharina da Siena, 

2 Spiriiualium personarum feminei 6 
a tract of six leaves without paginati< 
name, but apparently printed in 1501 
letters of Ercole and others concerning 
frontispiece represents three nuns kn< 

364 



these 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 
tempests, He ^virondrously manifests Himsdf in many 



• "tual> pious stnd religious persons, especially of the 
^P inine sex. Most: seasonably doth He now stretch forth 
. jjg^nd, that msLix may rise again out of this ruin to sub- 



lime 
Him 



things* that all may know God more clearly and love 
jxiore ardently, may imitate Him more dihgently and 
more blessed. Concerning which things the most 



become 

- x^ous and serexxe prince and lord, the Lord Hercules, 

ke of Ferrara, l>eareth witness." 
^r cole dilige^'tly collected information from all sources 
ernii^S the li^ves these women lived and the miracles 
^^ were said -to have wrought. Three were especially 
^^^^ us. Colotntea of Rieti hved m the convent of the 
*^* inic^^ ^^^^ ^^ I^erugia, took no apparent nourishment, 
^^^v^a5 sA^ta^^^ (so the Duke said) by the Blessed Sacra- 
^^^ ^iractiovisly conveyed to her by the hands of an 
^^^^ . she had raised up a dead child to life, almost in the 
-^^^ ' e ^* Cesare Borgia, and preached repentance (not 
P^^^^ effectually, we should say) to the fierce BagUoni. 
^^^ A-^dreassi, of Mantua, was an older woman than 

^^ timers (sh^ was bom in 1449) and a stronger, more 
^'^^ r>et^^^^^ spirit ; related on her mother's side to the 
^^ ag^' she was held in the utmost reverence by the 
^^ g^xid people of Mantua, and frequently consulted by 

i"^^ "M.^-^^^^ ^^^ Isabella. She was in correspondence 
'tH^ *tx2^y ^^ ^^ sovereigns of Italy, notably with the Duke 
's^^^ ^ "bino and Ercole himself. She had fed her soul upon 
ot -3i*tititigs of St. Catherine and of Savonarola, but did 
\\^^ ^^^g the pohtical theories of the latter ; at the Battle 
"J^^ tnovo all her S3mipathies had been with the army of 

T.eagu6» and she professed to know by revelation that 
^*^^ uls of almost all who fell fighting for the independence 



DUKES AND POETS II 

of Italy against the foreign invad< 
girl compared to these two, but 
nected with Ferrara, was Luda Br< 
had probably heard in the first int 
I Niccold Maria d* Este, the Bishop < 

papal service. 

Lucia Brocadelli was bom at Na 
Lucia, December 13, 1476. Her fa 
was a child, was Treasurer of the Cc 
of his brothers was attached to the 
Datario to Alexander VI. Fanta! 
her childhood. St. Catherine he 
cradle ; Christ espoused her myst 
the Angels, practised strange au! 
perpetual chastity. Then St. Ca 
taught her to read and write, bade 
Dominicans. After her father's d( 
her to marry a young Milanese ge 
lived in virginity, until at the age 

* Our chief authorities for the lives ai 
are : Leandro d^li Alberti, La Vita t 
(Bobgna, 1521); Fra Francesco da I 
Osanna da MatUava, written iinmediat< 
to Gian Francesco Gonzaga and Isabella 
1 590) ; Girolamo da Monte Oliveto, Li 
della Beata Osanna da Mantava, includii 
and her letters to the writer (second edit 
Marcianese, NarraHone della Nascita^ V 
da Nami (Ferrara, 1616) ; Domenico 1 
(Rome, 171 1) ; and the more recent w< 
Gandini, Sulla venuta in Ferrara dellc 
and Lucrezia Borgia nell* imminenza 
d* Este, I hope, on another occasion, 
of the Beata Osanna. 

366 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

it bii^ ^^^ took tiio habit of St. Dominic in her mother's 

y^se-'-'to the fury of her husband, who is said to have 

4-f emP*^ to bum. down the convent where her confessor 

^, J The next yos-ir she went to Rome, to the monasterj^ 



in 



jjjch St. Catherirxe had died in the Via Santa Chiara, 



^ a basrelief ixx the chapel (originally St. Catherine's 
11^ still records Ixer presence. In January, 1496, the 
^-ij of the IZ>oi:rxiixicans — that same Frate Giovacchino 
rria»i who, a. lit^tle later, was compelled by the Pope 
lay ^^^ part of Savonarola's executioner — sent her to 
♦ rbo, ^^ direot: at house of Dominican tertiaries there, 
on ttve xiiglxi: of February 24, the second Thursday 
- T ent, w^^ l>et:ween Suora Diambra, the Prioress, and 
^^ l^eonarda. (both of whom we shall meet again 

^^^ ntly^ ^^ cVioir at Matins, she received the Stigmata. 
P^ ^j^^ oi die agony they gave her, the wounds remained 
I^ . ; Y>le ^^^^ Passion Week, when they became visible and 
^^ ^^tt^^y- Her mother. Madonna Gentilina, and Fra 
^:*io d^ Tivoli, her former confessor, were summoned 
^* - ^ cotiV^^^> as the nuns beUeved she was dying. 
^^ tl^oli^ ^^d Protestants are nowadays agreed that the 
tiot^ ^^ ^^^ Stigmata is a question to be dealt with by 
^^^ V^ycbologist and the physician, rather than by the 
^ ^ \a&^ ^^^ hagiologist. But it was naturally not so 
'^^ The matter seemed a new manifestation of the 

tlx^^' ^ of Christ's Passion. *' These things," writes 
f^^ ^^ **are shown by the Supreme Craftsman in the 
^^ . ^ q{ His servants to confirm and strengthen our Faith, 
^^^^^^^ to remove the increduUty of impious men and hard of 
^^^ -^"^ The Pope sent his physician, Berardo da Re- 
ttcr of Blarch 4, 1 500, in the Spiritualium personarum facia ad- 
^ ofif dig^^» ^°^ '" P**^* published by Ponsi, ap. ciL , pp. 205-207 . 
^*^^' 367 



DUKES AND POETS J 

canati, with a Franciscan bishop ai 
of the Sacred Palace, to investig 
report, even as he had personally 
Colomba ; but these things impres 
the mysterious warnings were to do 
A little later, the local Father Inqi 
a prolonged examination, to which 
" St. Catherine of Siena by her praj 
our Lord Jesus Christ that the Stigr 
and palpable in me, as a pledge and 
mata of St. Catherine herself." 

Her life at Viterbo seemed to becc 
tery.^ Before the Crucifix and at Ma 
ecstasies, in which she cried, Fuoco, 
Her face appeared Uke that of a ser 
grew stiff and rigid as a statue. Sh( 
and suffered His Passion, and reveaL 
celestial mysteries, such that the nuns 
in which to record them. All these thi 
were collected a little later at Ercole's 
"beyond measure desirous to hear t 
mundane and well-nigh celestial "—by I 
Maria d* Este, who was then filling the 
of the Patrimony. " I send them to yo 
Lordship,** writes Niccold Maria, "in o 
read so many miraculous actions, you m 
day more the love and benevolence whicl 
aforesaid Suora Lucia ; who seemeth to n 

^ Could she have been the nun in that town wl 
apotheosis of Fra Girolamo and his fellow-mart^ 
there is no hint of anything like the column to 
refers (Diario Ferrarese, col. 353). 

368 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 
• fragile 2md conrxip'tible world of ours, but of the celestial 
^ d i^^* Wessed Hierarchies." * 

t7 ill of his desire "to make Ferrara a kind of centre of 

ivious ^^^ "^ Italy, Ercole in the summer of 1497 — 

^ bis rupture -^^ritih Savonarola — ^invited Lucia to his 

promising to l>ixild for her a convent of nuns of her 

Order. Lncis. accepted with alacrity ; her mother, 

was prof \ise in her gratitude to the Duke for 



city. 



r^entili^^' 

'ncL ** ^^ sucIl great love upon my own flesh and blood." * 

4- the tiutis and tixe authorities of Viterbo flatly refused 

1 t bcr 6^- C>n.e of her uncles, Antonio Mei, went to 

^^. bo to ietcH Ixer, on the pretext that her mother was 

. -a ^^^ overlxeard their conversation and raised the 

dy*^^ ^pon lai^> ^with the result that the worthy man was 

toWn ^^ sent: al>out his business. Before he went, he 

a^^ ^ v^tb t\ie confessor, Fra Martino, that Lucia should 

a^^ - tie every day to visit for her devotions the sanctuary 

^^^\^ lyladonna della Quercia, outside Viterbo. But an 

^* -t d^ri^S tlie winter by Alessandro da Fiorano, captain 

^* pijke's bcUestrieriy to carry her off on the occasion of 

^^ ^ I tb^^ visits, failed. The people shut the gates in her 

o^^ ^^d iitterly refused to let her pass out to keep the 

f ac^» ^^giit with Alessandro, of which they appear to have 



^PP^ ^^j^e inkling from Fra Martmo. 
b^^L ^Qtigbout the greater part of 1498, the people of Viterbo 
-|7 ^cole's agents struggled together in the Papal Court 
a-^^ ^.v^e possession of Lucia. The General of the Domini- 
40^ ^^^ ^as naturally anxious to gratify so eminent 

c^^^* enerous a benefactor of his Order, was entirely on 

oi March 5, 1503, from Viterbo. 






In Giacomo Marcianese, 



^fione, pp. 104, J05- 
^^^r riA\s{\,SuUaveniaa in Ferrara deUaBeataSuof Lucia, Letter 2. 

369 



DUKES AND POKTS II 

Ercole*s side ; Alessandro da Fio 
money lavishly in all directions, a 
action rather than a diplomatist, 
" I am not a chancellor nor an am 
Ercole, " but I am a very faithful 
lence and desirous of doing always 
industry the thing that you want, 
business, since your most illustrious I 
to understand how much you have i 
The Cardinal Ippolito and Monsignor '. 
their influence with the Pope to indue 
briefs to Viterbo, threatening excomn 
unless Lucia was sent to Rome. A o 
da Modena, also a Dominican, push 
affair, presented himself to the General < 
Ercole's permission or knowledge) as t 
and tried to work a little scheme of his 
Lucia from Viterbo and bringing her to 
permission of the Father Inquisitor of 
gave the over-zealous friar a spell in t 
Castle for his trouble, until he was " mo 
molto " (as Monsignor Felino put it), 
him from Ferrara.^ 

The whole thing, in fact, grew excee 
Ercole himself was perfectly sincere and 
his devotion to one whom he believed 
favoured by God and to bear in her b( 
Christ's Passion. Alessandro da Fioranc 
honest fellow, bent on pleasing his master, 
with the exception of poor Luda, evident! 

* Gandini, op. cit. Letter 9. 

* Gandini, op. du^ pp. 2S, 27, i 

370 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

what they can for themselves out of the situation. 
Even Frate Martino, whose own conduct had been rather 
dubious, professed to be shocked at the sums of money 
that Lucia's unde Antonio was demanding : '* I fear/' he 
said, ^^ that, if Antonio makes merchandise of this holy thing, 
we shall lose the credit in Heaven and on earth." * The 
people ^^ Viterbo hunted Antonio and Gentilina out of 
the place. 

Lucia appears to have left the convent, and to be very 
lonely ^^^ niiserable, longing for Ferrara as a place of rest 
and peace. " I have no consolation, neither of soul nor of 
l^y," she writes to her uncle, "and cannot stay any 
longer i^ ^^^ Hell. I pray you again to do all you can to 
take J^^ away." And to Ercole himself she wrote, some- 
what toitterly, complaining that they had taken her mother 
from y^^^* ^^^ ^^^^ ^* seemed more impossible than ever for 
her to g^* away from Viterbo. " My Lord and Father, I 
have ^^ other hope on earth than your most illustrious 
Lordship* You ask me to pray for you. My Lord and 
Father, y^^ know that I continually pray to that sweet 
Testis that He may preserve you in this mortal world with 
health ^* ^^ ^^^ body."* Her sadness and perplexity 
were, perhaps, increased by the fact that Suora Colomba 
of Rieti — ^whom she venerated as a mother — ^had sent her 
confessor from Perugia to advise her not to go, but " to 
console w^ her presence that city in which she had received 
so inati^^^* and excellent a gift." * The uncle, Antonio, 
wrote to assure the Duke that Lucia had told him that she 
was longing to come and stay with his Lordship, " and she 

1 Oa-**^*'^^' ^- ^''•. Letter 48 (irom Felino Sandeo to the Duke). 
9 C^&Xi^^^f op' cit.. Letters 36 and 37. 
» So at l«^t Ponsi, op. cii., p. 106. 



DUKES AND POETS IN FEj 

I 

told me that, when she had spoken with { 
the most contented religious that thel 
earth." * 

Finally, Monsignor Felino went secretl 
bought the Podest4 of the town, with th 
the thing succeeded, the Duke would give 
lucrative and honourable position in I 
them and Gentilina and the uncle, they 
a certain day Lucia should be carried ou 
mule, hidden in a basket of linen. On A 
plot succeeded, and Lucia was brought safe 
house at Nami, whence Alessandro da Fioi 
conducted her through the states of the 
to Ferrara. She arrived at Ferrara on 
mother Gentilina, a young cousin (Suora C 
Order, who died shortly after), and Fra Cris 
who had succeeded Fra Martino as her co 

Ercole himself came out to meet Luci: 
make enough of her. He declared that ] 
the wonderful things that he found in her 
report, and wrote enthusiastic letters of 
one concerned. Fra Timoteo turned u 
midst of all these rejoicings, very aiLxio 
and bringing a letter from Monsignor Fe] 
haves himself like a good religious," said th 
not lack favour from us." Seeing that Li 
tressed and evidently uneasy in her cc 
with almost womanly tact and considerat 
General of the Dominicans : " In order i 
may stay here with her mind at rest and wit 

^ Gandini, op. cit.. Letter 4^ 
372 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

ore pJ^y y^^^ most: reverend Lordship to be good enough 

yj^iite her a kind letter to praise her for coming here, and 

tell her that your IL^rdship is very pleased that she has 

016, 2tnd that sixe oould not have done better. Such a 

1 iter viriU be a grGSLt, comfort to her and a singular pleasure 

us." He cordially invited Fra Martino to Ferrara, to take 

his old duties ol oonfessor to the Suora, and obtained 

^toti^ the General t:lxa.t: he should be relieved of the office of 

rior oi the convexii: at FoUgno for this purpose. We 

^ ay» ^ *^^' tia^axci a guess that the ordinary clergy of 

^ city ^^^^ l^ave found Lucia a terribly difficult peni- 

t nU i^^ ^^^^^ E^rcole assuring the General that he is much 

aifi'ed by ^^^ *^a.Ttino, and that " his coming was more 

^ necessary.'' ^ There was nothing that the Duke 

xjUdt^^^^^^^ done for Lucia, to ensure her happiness under 

^? protection, or for the Dominicans, to show his gratitude 

*^^^tbei^ *^^ l:iavii:ig given this jewel of their Order into 

^^ Viands- He Yiad, indeed, fallen completely under their 

^"Iritual guidance. 

^^ ** I cong^^^ate your most illustrious Lordship much,'* 

^e ^^ ^^i^aventura da Como, one of the numerous 

^ tli*^^ ^* ^^ Order who seem to have had a share in the 

^^ iiii^^^^^* ^^ ^^ conscience, " and I have the greatest 

^ ^jsuf e tl^at you have been given as confessor and spiritual 

P tli^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ *^ venerable father Frate Giovanni da 

5^ toia» * ^sister in theology, a man most religious and of 

^ perfection ; the more your most excellent Lordship 

^ ^i^iences his devotion and goodness together with the 

^ ^icicncy of his learning, I am certain that your Lordship 

^ •\1 be so much the more consoled thereat. Further, I 

. ^^ greatly that the Divine Goodness hath sent thither 

1 Gandini, op, cit., Letters 52, 53, 54, 60. 

373 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

to Ferrara that most devout handmaid of His, Suora 
Lucia, of whom I hear .stupendous things. It would be a 
great happiness to me to be able to come so far to see this 
miraculous thing, and I assure your most illustrious Lord- 
ship that this is a great argument for our faith, because it 
is not possible by human means to preserve those wounds 
in the state in which they are. May the sweet Lord Jesus 
Christ ever be praised, Who has deigned for your very great 
consolation to lead thither this His humble spouse." ^ 

Ercole lost no time. On June 2, 1499, less than a month 
after Lucia's arrival, he laid the first stone of the monastery 
he had promised to build for her. It was situated near the 
Dominican convent of the AngeU, more to the east of the 
Certosa, but not a stone of it remains to-day.' In the 
meanwhile, he found her a suitable house, in which she 
received a first band of young Ferrarese girls to train in 
the footsteps of St. Catherine — but, within a few days, the 
majority of them left, finding her rule too hard. We have 
some indications, indeed, that Lucia was lacking in the 
sweetness of disposition, in the lovable and winning nature 
that was so conspicuous in the character of her great 
Sienese prototype. But she beUeved herself in direct 
spiritual intercourse with her, and went unshaken on her 
way. One evening, as she watched the progress of the 
building, St. Catherine appeared to her and led her round 
the whole, blessing every room, the two singing together 
Savonarola's favourite hymn, Ave ntaris Stella ; and Lucia 
imagined that, when the Saint left, she gave her a rod in 
token of command and government. Another time, she 
saw her hastening along a path paved with thorns, and caB- 

^ Gandini, op. cit.. Letter 56 (dated Piacenza, July 3» M99)- 
* See below, Chapter xii. 

374 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

ing- iier to follow. And yet again, the Madonna and Angels 
seemed to her ecstatic gaze to take possession of the place. 
In consequence of these visions, the convent was dedicated 
to St- Catherine, its church retaining the original title of 
the A^nniuxziata. 

Lucia, communicated all these visions to Ercole, to whom 
they naestn^t much. He passed hours in mystical conversa- 
tion with her ; heaped favours of all kinds upon her. Not 
only ciid h^e diligently collect all the evidence of her past 
life, for the confusion of the incredulous, but he himself — 
shortly stf ter her coming and while the building of the 
convent -wsts in progress — wrote the long letter in her honour 
which hsLS heen already mentioned. 

Xhe letter is dated from Ferrara, March 4, 1500, and 

ninst l>e regarded as another of the strange fruits in which 

^^3^^ arrxat^ing Jubilee of Pope Alexander was so prolific. 

After desorihing at length Lucia's condition, her sufferings 

from these wounds and her holy life, Ercole goes on to 

relate, ** *<^^ *^^ devotion of the faithful of Christ and the 

confirm3,tion of the good,** the things that he has heard 

from. Ixis messengers and witnesses concerning a certain 

g,^^^j-a^ Steffana, a nun of the same Order in Crema, who 

j^3^3 sirrxilar revelations and ecstasies, and who on Fridays 

end^i^^s the whole of the Passion in her body, stage by 

^±^<^G^ from the Flagellation to the Deposition from the 

Oross. He then touches more slightly upon the miraculous 

^^3^5^^xnximons of Suora Colomba at Perugia and the sanctity 

^3-£ SxLora Osanna at Mantua: "And in this our city of 

"Fex^raxa," he concludes, " there are many other nuns of the 

s;s^3xve Order, who are often rapt in ecstasy by the Divine 

S-pirit and are redolent of sanctity ; as also we have heard 

ot Tuany in many other places in Italy, who, inspired by 

375 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

the God of Heaven, bear witness to us that this our Catholic 
Faith is trae, and that the Holy Roman Church is the 
Mother of the Faith, and to be followed in all things that 
pertain to salvation and good morals." * Clearly, it is a 
tacit protest against the corruption of the Curia, in the 
same spirit as the Venetian publisher's letter dedicating 
the Epistles of St. Catherine to the Cardinal of Siena. 

Pope Alexander took Uttle heed of all this. Had Lucia 
or Colomba been possessed of Catherine's Uterary gifts, 
and written letters touching him personally to the quick, 
or bidding him renounce the temporal power for the salva- 
tion of souls, it would have been another thing. Osanna, 
indeed, the only one of the group who appears to have been 
a really strong spirit, prophesied the downfall of Cesare 
Borgia and the speedy death of the Pope himself, and had 
such a fearful vision of the damnation of the latter and 
his Cardinals, povere anime, unless they changed their works, 
that she made the blood of her friends run cold with terror 
when she related it. But she kept very quiet at Mantua, 
and probably reserved these revelations for the sympathetic 
ears of such choice spirits as the Duchess Elisabetta of 
Urbino and her own spiritual son, Fra Girolamo of Monte 
01iveto,who has recorded them for us." As it was. Pope 
Alexander saw no danger in the movement. 

1 This letter is printed in full in the Spirttualium personarum facia 
admiratione digna, mutilated and abbreviated in Ponsi and elsewhere. 
Certain persons still refusing to credit his report, Ercole wrote 
another letter to the consuls of Nuremberg on January 23, i50i> 
in a similar strain^ urging them to force those who had 
slandered Lucia to retract what they had said. It is printed with 
the former one in the tract quoted, as also by Giacomo Marcianese 
and Pdnsi. 

' Libretto delta Vita et Transito delta Beata Osanna, pp. 50V. 5I) 97 

376 



XJSr THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

The Duke had interested Isabella in his mystical desires, 
but dici not succeed in inducing his favourite daughter 
either to ga to Rome for the Jubilee or to bring Osanna to 
Ferrara. In a curious reply to a letter in which Ercole 
ha,cl exhorted her to make the journey to the Eternal City, 
Isa^bella, pleads that she finds that it would cost her not 
less thaxi a. thousand or eight hundred ducats, doing it as 
cheaply as possible, and she is too heavily in debt to under- 
take it. His Excellence and God will, therefore, hold her 
excused^ and the Pope is so generous with his indulgences 
that she Ixopes that, in the coming Lent, he will grant her 
the complete absolution through her ordinary confessor, 
ivherehy, adds the practical and economical Marchesana, 
** I shall gain the same merit with less expense " :— 

"If I had come, I would have done everything to bring 
the venerable Suora Osanna. I have talked with her about 
it, and she says that, to visit the venerable Suora Lucia 
said, do a thing pleasing to your Excellence and to me, she 
would ncxake every effort ; albeit unwillingly, because several 
years ago she resolved and made a vow not to leave Mantua, 
it seeming to her (to use her own words) that she is such a 
monmftxl person that she ought not to go about. Never- 
i:heless if I had come, in obedience to the summons of your 
Excellence, I should have persuaded her and brought 
her." ^ 

•• <3l3L Ixow many things did she prophesy to me concerning Italy ; 

SLnd «»peciaUy of the Duke Valentino I When he was in his greatest 

st:a^et and prosperity in the Marches, she said to me these very words : 

• Tl^o lordship of the Duke Valentino is a fire of straw that soon 

X>a^aes ; so wiU be his State ; it wiU soon be dispersed, and the Pope 

^limaLll remain short while upon the earth.' " 

^ X-ctterof November 27, 1500. Archivio di Modena, CanceUeria 
-I>vkoa\e, Lettere di Isabella d' Este Gonzaga, A passage from this 

377 BB 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

In the meanwhile, the new convent was rapidly approach- 
ing completion. " Since we have in great veneration the 
glorious St. Catherine of Siena," wrote Ercole on April 7, 
1501, to the Cardinal of Modena, Giovanni Battista Ferrari, 
then filling the oifice of Datario at the Papal Court, "whom 
among aU the Saints we hold for our special advocate, we 
have decided to dedicate and entitle to her a monaster)^ 
which we are having newly built in this our city, not very 
far from the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angdi of the 
Friars Preachers of the Observance; and this monastery, 
with a certain endowment, we wish to consign to the vener- 
able sisters of the third habit of St. Dominic, as to those 
who are the daughters and imitators of the said St. Cathe- 
rine.*' Hearing that the authority of the Pope is necessarj, 
he asks the Cardinal to consult with the vicar of the Order 
and arrange the matter with his Holiness. He explains that 
these sisters are to have the rules and privileges of the 
" cloistered " nuns of St. Dominic, but that, if " the vener- 
able Suora Lucia da Nami, who is to be the guide and ruler 
of the said sisters and for whose sake we are so much the 



letter is quoted by Bertoni, op. dt., p. 207. For the full text, see 
Appendix II. of present work, document 22. Although Osansa 
never met Lucia, she refers to her once in her coUoquies with Fra 
Gurolamo of Monte Olive to (concerning the wound in her side), and 
once incidentally in a letter to him {Libretto delta Vita et TransUo 
delta Beata Osanna, pp. 78V, 122). On Whitsunday of this year, 
1500, there had arrived in Ferrara " a live saintly nun, named Suora 
Colomba, of whom it was said that every day she received Com- 
munion from an Angel and that she lived on this Communion alone." 
The Duke lodged her in the house where Lucia was, until the monas- 
tery was ready (Diario Ferrarese, col. 387). This Cobmba must 
have been an imitator and namesake of the more famous Cobmba 
of Rieti, who certainly did not leave Perugia. 

378 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

more g^Ia^dly having the said building built," wishes it to 
l>e so, Uiey are to be allowed sometimes to go out of the 
convent, under certain conditions and restrictions, " in 
order to retain in some part the custom and way of their 
Mother, St. Catherine of Siena, who was of the same Order 
with this liberty."* 

The nnatter was soon settled. The Pope, by a Bull of 

May 29 of the same year, gave the Duke leave to do all 

that he -wished, and conferred various privileges and an 

indefinite chief authority (even over the prioress) upon 

«* our beloved daughter in Christ, Lucia da Nami, sister of 

the said third Order, who (as it is asserted) devotes herself 

as far as she can to following the footsteps of the Blessed 

Catherine." * On August 5, Lucia made her solemn entry 

into the xxe^v convent, and Ercole naturally made a great 

function of the event and formally consigned the keys to 

her charge- He heaped favours of all kinds upon her, great 

and small. The convent was richly endowed, and he 

exempted her from giving any account to the ducal Camera 

of virhat she received from him. We have curious records 

of r>ain.ters set to work for her at his expense, of religious 

boolcs giv^^ *o her from the ducal library.' He sought 

ont raxe relics of Dominican martyrs, to comfort her when 

she ^was ill- Her slightest wish to him was law. He 

^j-^or-ed that peculiar honours and respect should be paid 

^^3 h.er" and to her confessors by all his subjects. The cloths in 

^^^i^l^olx her hands and feet were wrapped on the days upon 

1. Ciaxidini, Luctezia Borgia, Document i. 
a In. "Ponsi, op. cit., pp. 227, 228. 

» C^andini, op. $it., pp. 7, 8 ; Bertoni, op. c»7.,pp. 206, 237. The 

-j:>^^^«-« gave her from his library a Bible in the vernacular. For 

^txe pictorial decorations of her convent, see below, in Chapter xii. 

379 



I 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

which the blood gushed out anew, Wednesdays and Fridays 
and all the feasts consecrated to the Passion, were to him 
sacred objects, endowed with rare healing powers. ^ 

Nevertheless, the new institution was not a complete 
success. Lucia was too young for the responsibility thrust 
upon her, and it was difficult to get women of the kind the 
Duke wanted to subject themselves to her rule. Her 
mother, Gentilina, had returned to her own home at Narni. 
Not content with transferring nuns from other convents 
in Ferrara, Ercole acceded to Lucia's ardent desire and 
decided to obtain a number of her former friends and 
associates from Umbria, to place them under her in 
Santa Caterina. This, however, was easier said than done. 

In May, 1501, before the place was finished, Ercole sent 
Bartolommeo Bresciano, the messenger of the ducal chan- 
cellors, to Nami and Viterbo for the purpose. The mission 
was unsuccessful. At Nami, the fathers of Tomasa an(i 
Beatrice, two girls (cousins) whom Lucia particularlj 
wanted to have, used male parole. " We should like tc 
see,** said they, " who will take away our daughters bj 
force." They received Bresciano courteously enough, anc 
let him talk with Beatrice for an hour. He reported tc 
Ercole that she seemed una santarella and evidently love( 
Lucia cordially ; but, aU the same, he could not get eithe 
her or her cousin to come, Lucia's relations, however 
sent grateful messages to his Excellence, and offered him 
at his need, fifty armed men at their own expenses ; Gen 
tilina and two nuns with her would be most happy to come 
At Viterbo the nims wept together when they rememberec 

* Giacomo Marcianese, passim. She was said to have healed Dot 
Alfonso in a dangerous illness by one of these cloths. 

380 



IN THE CLOSE OF THE QUATTROCENTO 

±lie psLst, ajid Diambra, the Prioress, told Bresciano of many 
good works that Lucia had done ; but the Prior of the 
I>oixiixiica,iis absolutely refused to let him have the four 
nuns that he wanted. " It is quite enough for his Excel- 
lence,** quoth this very reverend father, "to have robbed 
us of Suora Lucia, which hath been a great loss to this city 
of Viterbo." ^ 

Xhe convent being finished, Ercole returned to the charge. 
Xliis time, however, " for our complete satisfaction and the 
j>erf ect contentment of Suora Lucia," as his Excellence put 
it, at least eight women were required — two from Nami and 
six f roncx Viterbo, including Diambra and Leonarda, the 
two ivlio txsid been with Lucia at the moment of her reception 
of the Stigmata. Bartolommeo Bresciano was sent post- 
haste to Rome at the end of September, ** in the name of 
Ood an.ci vrith the aid of the glorious Saint Catherine of 
Siena,** l>earing a letter from Ercole to a lady remarkably 
.^^ijjij^e Saint Catherine, but in whose assistance he had 
reason to place unbounded confidence at that moment — 
Lucrezist Borgia. 



* C>ajx<ii»^* op. cit.. Documents 2 and 3, 
^jairtoloxxicaeo Bresciano to the Duke. 



being letters from 



381 



Chapter XI 
THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

THE Holy Year of JubUee had nearly three months still 
to run, when Cesare Borgia, well supplied with money 
from the offerings of the pilgrims and from the sale of twelve 
elevations to the cardinalate at the September consistoiy, 
and backed by the consent of Venice, which the Pope had 
bought by his demonstration of crusading zeal against the 
Turk, took the field again against the petty tyrants of 
Romagna at the beginning of October. His own forces 
amounted to some seven hundred men-at-arms and six 
thousand infantry, with Paolo Orsini, Giampaolo Baglioni, 
Ercole di Sante Bentivoglio, and other condottieri, and he 
had a promise of a well-equipped body of French horse and 
foot under All^e, which would bring his whole anny up 
to some ten thousand men. 

To this overwhelming force the luckless potentates of 
Romagna could offer no effectual resistance. Rimini 
surrendered as soon as Ercole Bentivoglio appeared before 
its walls in the name of Cesare, Pandolfo Malatesta escaping 
to Bologna. Giovanni Sforza, too, fled " the hydra's fieiy 
breath," and, on the evening of October 27, the Boigia made 
his triumphal entry into Pesaro. 

At the outset of this Borgian and Papal advance, Gio- 
vanni Bentivoglio saw his own rule in Bologna threatened, 

382 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

SLTkd bad appealed to Duke Ercole for aid. The latter had 
^written earnestly, to both Beltrando G)stabai and Giovanni 
Valla, Iiis resident orators in Milan and France respectively, 
urg^ing' tliem to point out to the King and his representatives 
Uiat tliG royal interests in Italy would be seriously com- 
promised, if C^esare Borgia or the Church got possession^of 
Faeirza, Rimini, and Pesaro, let alone Bologna. *' If the 
rXixke Valentino or the Church have these towns," Ercole 
writes to Costabili, "together with Forll, Cesena, and 
Imola, tliey will be not less powerful in Italy than is the 
State of M^ilan, and, therefore, the most illustrious Lords 
Dukes of IMilan have never consented that the Church should 
undo all i:lie lords of those towns, nor that they should be 
given to one man ; nay, they have done all they could to 
preserve each of those lords in his State ; and to avail 
themselves the better of them, they have also taken them 
into their pay. So, in all the enterprises that they [the 
Dulces of Milan] have undertaken in Italy, they have made 
^^^3^-t lose of the lords and cities of Romagna, since it is 
a corxvenient place and very handy for all the campaigns 
tliat are made in Italy ; as was seen, for instance, in the war 
ivaged against the Florentines in the time of the magnificent 
33^xt.olomineo of Bergamo, and afterwards in the time of the 
^^^ost. serene King Charles, and lastly when the Venetians 
v^slied to send succour to Pisa by the Val di Lamone. 
Therefore, not only should the Most Christian Majesty not 
^x^ffer that Bologna should come into the hands of Duke 
"Valentino, but he should not even permit him .to acquire 
xxvore than he already has in Romagna ; besides that it would 
\ye^ very wrong that these lawful lords should be undone and 
Yiunted out of their homes, without any just cause." Let 
-ttie ambassador, then, urge the royal lieutenants in his name 

383 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

not to sufEer Bentivoglio to be molested, not only in con- 
sideration of the protection that the King has promised 
him, but also seeing that, as long as Bologna is in his hands, 
the King will be able to dispose of its resources as he chooses, 
which he certainly cannot do if it falls into the power of 
Cesare or the Pope. Let him not omit to make them realize 
that the writer's own interests will be seriously prejudiced 
if Cesare gets more in Romagna than he has, and especially 
in Bologna. He suggests that the King and his lieutenants 
should warn the Pope not to attend to wars in Italy at a 
time when Christendom is threatened by the Turk, and 
concludes by urging the utmost secrecy with respect to 
these commimications of his. The letter to Valla is in nearly 
the same words.* 

The royal lieutenants in Milan made the most ample 
assurances and promises in favour of Bentivoglio ; but no 
reply was forthcoming from France. " His Majesty," 
wrote Machiavelli to the Ten, " in the things that can 
arise in Italy, makes more account of the Pope than of any 
other Italian potentate." The King gave the Ferrarese 
and Bolognese envoys to understand that he would not 
interfere with the affairs of the Church, nor allow his Italian 
confederates to help the Romagnole despots. If the Pope 
actually attempted to do anything against the Bentivoglio, 
his Majesty would hear both sides of the question and con- 
demn whichever was in the wrong.* Ercole was forced to 
dissemble. 

1 Archivio di Modena, Minuiario CronohgicOt Minute Ducali of 
October 5, 1500. See Appendix II., document 21. 

« Letter from Ercole to Giovanni Bentivoglio, October 14, 1500 
(Dallari, p. 193) ; Machiavelli's dispatch from Nantes, October 25» 
in his First L^ation to the Court of France. 

384 




XHE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

As Ces£Lre was entering Pesaro, PandoHo Collenuccio 

ajTiveci iix>on the scene— sent by the Duke of Ferrara to con- 

grsLtxtlsLtG the conqueroTj who had ahready written to inf onn 

Iiim of Ids progress, Pandolfo did not succeed in getting 

aj:i a-udience until the twenty-ninth ; but then he found the 

Borg^ia. most affable. ^' In substance," writes Pandolfo to 

tlie Dixke, ** he told me thatj knowing the prudence and 

goodness of your Lordship, he has always loved you and 

desired to have dealings with your Excellence ; and that, 

v^hen you ^^were at Milan,* he wished to have done so ; but that 

time and those affairs that were then in progress did not 

p^^-jxiit of it. And so^ now that he has come inrto these 

parts, follovring up this desire of his, he wrote you that 

letter al>oxit his progress, as a beginning and demonstration 

of his m.in.d and to show you that he is your son, holding 

£qj. certain that your Lordship would be pleased thereat* 

And he is going to do the same also for the future, because 

he desires to have more intrinsic friendship with your 

Excellen.ce, to whom he oflfered all his faculty and all that 

he conld do, saying that in every need your Lordship should 

g^^ -the proofs. And he bade me commend him much to 

^^xJL, l>ecaiise he would have you as a brother. Also he 

thanl^ed your Lordship for the reply that you had made 

m^jy^ Toy letter, and for having sent a special messenger, but 

^3^j^ tliat there was really no need ; for that, even without 

^Y^3^3^ Yie vras quite certain that your Lordship would take 

Ice^Ti. pleasure in every good thing that befell him. In fine* 

1-^^ oonld not have used better nor more suitable words than 

Yx^ did, always speaking of you like a brother and himself 

sl:s a- son. And for my part, putting the affair and all his 

*^ On the occasion ot the triumphal entry of Loiaie XII. 

385 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

words together, I understand that he would be very gla( 
to have more dealings with your Lordship and good friend 
ship." 

The interview lasted a good half hour, Cesare expressin( 
great desire to be on friendly terms with Ferranu The] 
talked of Faenza, which he declared he would stonn fiercely 
if it did not do as the other cities had done. Not a wore 
of Bologna. He was delighted to receive friendly message 
from Alfonso and IppoUto, above all from the latter, ol 
whom he spoke most affectionately. " They say," adds 
the envoy, " that the Pope is going to give this town as a 
dowry to Madonna Lucresia, and to give her an Italian foi 
husband who will always be a good friend of the Valentino 
If it be true, I know not ; so it is thought." ^ 

A Uttle later, to his disgust and indignation, Ercole found 
that his own eldest son, Don Alfonso, was the person upon 
whom the Pope's choice had fallen. 

Lucrezia Borgia was then in her twenty-first year, radi 
antly lovely and with a certain d^ree of deveraess, but 
destitute of the finer spirit that shines out in other women o) 
that epoch, such as Isabella d* Este or Elisabetta Gonzaga 
Hitherto, she had been simply a pawn in the great game 
her father and brother were playing. They had mamec 
her to Giovanni Sforza (in whose very palace the above 
recorded conversation had been held), when the star of the 
Sforza seemed in the ascendant ; they had dissolved the 
marriage in December, 1497, when a different political 
combination seemed desirable, and had married her to the 
young Alfonso of Bisceglie, nephew of the King of Naples, 
in July, 1498. Alfonso's life had ended at Cesare's 

1 Letter from Pandolfo Collenuccio to Ercole of October 29, 15^- 
Gregorovius, document 25. 

386 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

bidding-, barely two months before this new marriage 
was i>r-op>osed, when the Aragonese alliance was no longer 
needed. In all these infamies Lucrezia had been to a cer- 
tain. GJctGXkt passive. She had, on one occasion, saved 
Giovaxini Sforza from Cesare's assassins ; possibly, the 
oatli -that she declared herself ready to take, to have her 
marriage ^^^th him annulled, would not have been perjury. 
Hideous reix>rts were spread by Giovanni Sforza and 
others whom Cesare had injured, concerning relations be- 
tiveen her and other members of the Borgia family as the 
real moti^^e for the divorce. They had been duly reported 
to Ercole hy Antonio Costabili and Pandolfo Collenuccio ; 
but, prohsthly , were as little credited by him as by the serious 
student of history to-day. According to another scandal 
of the time, she had had a lover of plebeian origin in the 
interval het^ween the dissolution of her first and the effectua- 
tion of her second marriage.* Be that as it may, Lucrezia 
had passionately loved her second husband (who had married 
her nxost nnwiUingly), and had borne him a son, Rodrigo. 
She had sincerely wept his untimely death, perhaps for a 
nionth, in her retirement at Nepi; but had returned, 
smiling and serene as ever, to Rome, looking, with her sweet 
ixinocent girl-like face, ready— over ready, in fact— to accept 
-the TX€iV/ and greater fortune that was preparing for her. 

^ ^A^ocording to a dispatch from Bologna to the Marquis of Mantua, 

oi lAffltrcli 2, 1498, a favourite papal cameriere, Pierotto, was im- 

•pnsoxied " per haver mgravidato la figliola de sua Santit^, Madonna 

X^xiLOxetia. '• (Pastor, iii. p. 288, note i). In Paolo Cappello's famous 

x-Gpoxt to the Pregadi, it is stated that Cesare stabbed Pierotto to 

d^fflk.'tli. iwith his own hands, while he clung to the Pope's mantle, so 

-^l^^s^t. Ids blood splashed over Alexander's face (Sanudo, Diarii, 

\^S.. col. 846). Pastor (iii. p. 429, note 3) regards this latter story as 

^x^or edible. 

387 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

The Pope» in the meantime, was doing all that he could 
to isolate Ercole from his allies and make it impossible for 
him to escape out of his net. The latter had resolved not 
to get involved in the affairs of Faenza, where young Astorre 
Manfredi, loyally supported by his subjects, was holding 
out manfully against Cesare's overwhelming forces. Both 
in the Venetian Senate and in the French Court, the papal 
orators were intriguing against the Duke, attempting to 
make Venice and the King believe that Florence, Bologna, 
Mantua, and Ferrara were going to declare against France 
and for Maximilian, the Pope's idea being to restore Hero 
de' Medici to Florence, take Bologna for Cesare Borgia, 
and make Ferrara and Mantua completely subservient. 
" The design," wrote Machiavelli, " seemed to me to be 
worthy of the Holiness of our Lord " ; and he spoke to the 
Cardinal of Rouen, pointing out that the Florentines could 
not possibly expect the Emperor to help them, seeing that 
he had done nothing for Milan that was his, and that neither 
Bologna nor Ferrara could have any hope in any one save 
the King, for protection from the Pope and Venice. Let 
his Majesty beware of those who were seeking the destruc- 
tion of his friends, only to make themselves more potent 
and more easily to take Italy out of his hands. "The 
Majesty of the King," answered the Cardinal, "is very 
prudent, and has long ears and short belief ; he hears every- 
thing, but only lends faith to what he finds by actual proof 
to be true." ^ 

When, in December, the French troops under Yves 
d* AUfigrei whose unde Aubigny was royal governor of 

* Letter from Machiavelli at Tours to the Ten of Uberty and 
Peace, November 21, 1500, in his First Legation to the Conrt w 
France. 

388 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

M;ila.n, passed through the districts of Modena and Reggio 

to 3,ic] Cesaxe Borgia in the conquest of Faenza, Ercole 

directed his ducal captains of those cities to provide them 

Avith lodgings and victuals at a just price, to pay all honour 

to AJl^gre, and to take care that the men-at-arms were 

ivell treated for their money, "taking precautions wisdy 

aniongf your other measures that they cannot say that the 

gates are shut against them, nor that they are mistrusted 

in any vi/'a.y." * Needless to say, the French repaid this 

confiden.ce 'with brutality and outrage. Against one specially 

overl>earirxg party, the people of Modena, " down to the 

priests," rose in arms. They killed six in the piazza and 

tviro more in San Domenico, closed the gates of the dty 

and woxald have cut all the rest to pieces, if Count Gerardo 

Rangoxii and the ducal faUore, Niccold Sadoleto, had not 

come to the rescue and persuaded the indignant populace 

to let tl^em go.a 

Before the end of the year 1500, Alexander had formally 

proposed to Ercole that Lucrezia should be married to the 

hereditary prince of Ferrara, Don Alfonso ; and, as early 

as November 26, the Venetian ambassador at Rome, Marino 

Gorzi, had informed his government that such a marriage 

viras on foot.* The idea was intensely repugnant to the 

lioAXse of Este ; Ercole, who had hoped to make a great 

;p'ren.cl:i match for his son, attempted to gain time by pleading 

tlxa-t he was already negotiating a marriage elsewhere and 

<^c>vild not draw back. In February, 1501, the papal insist- 

^ Arcbivio di Modena. Minutario Cronologico, December 21, 

* Diario Fwrartse, coll. 393, 394. This was at the beginning 
o± April, 1 501. 

» Sanudo, Diarii, iii. col. 11 30. 

389 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

ence was renewed. Hearing that the matter of Alfonso*s 
projected marriage had been put by the Duke into the 
hands of the King of France, Alexander was sending another 
papal envoy to the latter sovereign to induce him to support 
his proposal. Ercole at once wrote to Bartolommeo de* | 
Cavallieri, his ambassador at the French Court, to beg the 
King not to give way. " We trust that his Majesty ^rill 
not write to us according to the desire of the Pope. We 
shall take it as a singular favour if he will represent that 
he has already quite decided for another marriage. B^ 
seech him, in our name, with the greatest efficacy that you 
can, that at least he Mrill not write to uige us to contract 
this aflftnity with the Pope, nor say that he leaves us free 
in the matter. Because, to speak freely with his Majesty, 
we shall never yield nor consent to give Madonna Lucrezia 
to Don Alfonso ; nor could Don Alfonso himself be ever 
induced to take her." * 

But the Pope insisted. Cardinal Ferrari wrote from 
Rome to urge Ercole to consent, and the apostolic com- 
missary from Cesare Borgia's army came in person to 
Ferrara. Dire consequences to the whole State of the 
Estensi were threatened, if they persisted in their refusal. 
The only hope that remained was to get the French marriage 
settled before the papal envoy arrived. Ercole instantly 
wrote to Cavallieri, telling him that he remembered two 
ladies who had been suggested as suitable brides, the 
daughter of the Comte de Foix and Madame d'Angou- 

* Minute d% dispacci per Francia a Bartolommeo de' CavaUierij 
February 14, 1501. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio degli Ambasciaicrt 
— Francia. The opening words of the dispatch, " gi4 son piii mesi," 
show clearly that Gregorovius is mistaken in supposing that the 
negotiations began with Cardinal Ferrari's letter of February 18. 

390 



XHE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

l^rnc I^Gt him try to get the first from the King and the 

CsurdLnail of Rouen ; but if " quella de Foys " cannot be had, 

** yoxi i^ill give us information clearly as to the qualities of 

lMa.clame d'Angouleme, in such wise that we may under- 

s±aj:icl ^^rell a.bout her age, and if she has been married again 

or not, ajnd in what degree of afltoity she stands conjoint 

ivitli the IMost Christian Majesty ; because, when we have 

leameci all, vre shall then answer you as to whether we 

think that you should open any negotiations about her. 

We shoixld also much like you to inform us of the qualities 

of the Foi^c lady and her age, and the beauty of both of 

them, and also the dowry of each, if you can find it out." 

And, the same day, he sent him another letter, bidding him 

instantly inform the King of the coming of the apostohc 

commissa-iry and of the papal threats, and beseech him, if he 

is urged hy the Pope in this matter, to tell him that he has 

already oxxgaged Don Alfonso, and cannot therefore set the 

I>iilce at liberty ; " or whatever will seem best to his Majesty, 

provided that he relieves us from this persecution of the 

Pope, axid that he delivers us from his hatred, the which 

withoia't doubt we should incur very greatly, if we repulsed 

j^i3 overtures although we were at liberty to satisfy him, 

and every day would he attempt something against us. 

Xhis ^vve have to consider and estimate very much ; but 

the lAost Christian King need reck little if he does not 

gx^atify the Pope in this, since the Pope has more need of 

hixn. t:han he of the Pope." * 

The Duke, however, had reckoned without his host. 
"Lo^ctis v^as counting upon the Pope's support in his designs 

^ Alinuie di dispacct per Francia a Bartolommeo de* Cavallieri, 
"F^l^x^aary 25 (two dispatches of same date), 1501. Archivio di 
^^SjoAenA^ he. cit 

391 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

upon Naples, and had no intention of offending him for 
the sake of a mere feudatory of the Church. Cardinal 
Fenari in the Pope's name represented to Ercole the advan- 
tages of this union, and the enmity of the Pope and Cesarc, 
perhaps also of France, if he refused ; and Alexander al- 
ready flattered himself that the day was won.* On May 26, 
Bartolommeo de* Cavallieri wrote from Ch3Jonsthat,onthe 
previous evening, the Cardinal of Rouen had told him that 
the Pope had sent one of his secretaries to ask the King to 
write and urge Ercole to consent to the marriage, and that 
the King, " having at present need of the Pope," had been 
unable not to write about it to the Duke. Bartolommeo 
saw the King that morning. His Majesty professed himself 
favourable to the marriage of Alfonso and the daughter of the 
Comte de Foix, but said that the Pope had pressed him to 
write to Ercole in support of the Borgia marriage, " and that 
already he had written to your Excellence, who was prudent 
and wise, and who would not, because of his letter, do any- 
thing save what you thought fit, adding that his mtention 
is, in case this negotiation does not proceed, to give him 
the Foix lady." * Thus the responsibihty for further re- 
sistance was thrown upon Ercole's own shoulders. 

The Duke, who had continually answered the impor- 
tunity of the Pope by pleading that he could not enter mto 
the question, because he had entirely resigned his liberty 
in this matter to King Louis, was aghast, and saw his game 
played out. " Where we beUeved and held for certain," 
he wrote back, " that we were deUvered and liberated from 
this business by the authority of the Most Christian Majesty, 

* Gregorovius, p. 160. 

a Dispacci da Franda di Bartolommeo de' Cavaliim. ^"^"^ 
di Modena, loc. cit, 

392 



XHE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

we see ourselves entangled in it more than ever, by his means 
and his -wrorlc. Wherefore, we cannot refrain from remon- 
strating 'with his Majesty concerning this thing. We trusted 
in the vrorcis and promise of his Majesty, who in writing to 
us a£B.nxiLed that he would never write to us about this 
matter and that he would make an opportune reply to the 
Pope. And "we, trusting in the grace and wisdom of his 
Majesty, felt quite certain of this thing; and we replied 
continually to the Pope's importunity that we could not 
enter into this husiness with him, because we had given up 
our faculty and liberty to the Most Christian Majesty; 
>vhich ^we should not have said, nor written, if we could 
have imagined that the said Majesty would have changed, 
and consented to have such a letter written to us as he has 
done. This seems to us so much the more grievous, as his 
Majesty ^vith one tiny Uttle word could satisfy the Pope, 
by giving him to understand that already there had been 
so much spoken of the other marriage, and that his faith 
had been given to such an extent, that he could not change 
it nor in-tervene in favour of this aflSnity with the Pontiff. 
Nor should it be taken into consideration that his Majesty 
at present: has need of the Pope, as the most illustrious and 
reverend Monsignor of Rouen has said to you ; for the Pope 
txsLS m\ach greater need of his Majesty, without whose 
f avovir lie could not stay in Rome nor in Italy. And if the 
I^ost: Cliristian King had used those terms with the Pope 
t^lxat-t -p^^^^P^ would have been not unfitting but universally 
oomLxn-ended, he could have much more securely disposed 
oit -tkvis, or of another better Pontiff, than he can at present. 
"^xx-t. we cannot do so ; we must needs temporise, and avoid 
^C^ occasions of angering the mind of the Pope, and especially 
^^^ present, since we have seen that the Most Christian 

393 cc 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Majesty, because he has some small need of the Pope, grants 
him what he wants, paying no heed to our coacerns and 
needs. And if, perchance, his Majesty deemed that we were 
of such great cleverness and prudence as to know how to 
get out of this difficulty (and this may be the cause that 
has induced him to write to us !), you can assure him that 
we were never so industrious nor so wise that we should 
know how to vary or contradict what we have said and 
written. Since, therefore, we have always affirmed to the 
messengers of the Pope that this affair of ours was in the 
hands of the Most Christian King (trusting in him, as we 
said above), and now his Majesty writes to us according to 
the Pope's desire, we are reduced to so great peiplexit}' 
that we do not know what line of conduct to adopt. For, 
in the first place, we are resolved never to contract this 
relationship with the Pontiff. It does not appear to us 
advisable to tell him absolutely that we will not ; because 
such a repulse would make him an even bitterer enemy to 
us than he is now. Neither will we say that the Most 
Christian Majesty does not wish it, albeit he writes to us 
in another tone in order not to offend him. He, therefore, 
can judge right well the great difficulty to which we are 
reduced ; from which we see no way of escape, save by the 
means and aid of his Most Christian Majesty.'** 

But these were mere words, and Ercole soon found that 
further resistance was useless. The Pope threatened him 
with the loss of his duchy unless he consented, and, ai- 
though the King told Cavalheri that Ferrara was under his 
special protection and could only fall if France tell, 

i Original letter of June 9, 1501. IsiruHane a Bartoiontmeo I 
Cavallieri. Archivio di Modena, loc, ciL 

394 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

French ministers urged the Duke to yield on advantageous 
conditions for Ferrara and the House of Este. The Cardinal 
of Rouen sent the Archbishop of Narbonne to Ferrara to 
counsel compliance.^ Ercole gave way with some dignity, 
declaring that he was postponing his own will and the 
dignity of his House for the desires and interests of the King 
of France. He was ready, he told the envoys of Alexander 
and Cesare, to do what the King and Cardinal desired, 
provided that a satisfactory agreement could be made 
about the details and conditions. To the Cardinal of 
Rouen himself he wrote : ** Having postponed the honesty 
of my most ancient House, I have decided to yield." * 

So pleased was the Sovereign Pontiff at Ercole's surrender, 
that he promptly took a holiday, leaving Lucrezia in the 
Vatican as regent of the Papal States. He was not so 
pleased a Uttle later, when he heard of the conditions upon 
which Ercole insisted. These included 200,000 ducats as 
Lucrezia's dowry, Uberation from the annual tribute that 
was paid to the Holy See, the concession to himself of the 
right of patronage of the bishopric of Ferrara, the cession to 
Ferrara of Cento and La Pieve (small towns included in the 
archbishopric of Bologna, and therefore a part of the Papal 
States), and a number of benefices for members of the House 
of Este. Alexander offered half the dowry demanded. 
The French King advised Ercole, if the thing had to be 
done, to get the biggest profit out of it that he could ; in 
case it fell through, he was still ready to find a French 
bride for Alfonso.* But he thought that the ducal demands 

* Gregorovius, pp. 169, 170. 

* MifiMte Ducali of July 8, 1501, to Giovanni Valla and the 
Cardinal of Rouen. Archivio di Modena, MimUario Cronohgico. 

* Gregorovius, pp. 172, 173. 

395 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

were excessive. Ercole indignantly protested that he was 
only asking what was reasonable, " in such wise that it can 
be understood that we make more accoxmt of honour than 
of money.*' If there should be any further delay, he assured 
the King, or any rapture in the negotiations, it would 
proceed entirely from the Pope. He wrote to Cesare Boigia 
that he had agreed to this marriage, " because of the rever- 
ence which we bear to the Holiness of our Lord, and the 
excellent qualities of the most illustrious Madonna 
Lucrezia ; but much more because of the love and affection 
which we bear towards your Excellence." * Cesare and 
Lucrezia — the latter being the one person most bent upon 
the marriage, and showing her wishes without the slightest 
delicacy — ^persuaded the Pope to give the Duke what he 
wanted. Venice misliked the affair, as tending to increase 
Cesare's power in Italy. The King of the Romans urged 
Ercole not to make this alliance. But the ill-humour of the 
one Power and the interference of the other merely streng- 
thened the Duke's hands. On September i, 1501, the 
marriage was contracted per verba in the palace of Belfiore, 
the Pope having previously conferred on the Cardinal 
Ippolito the dignity of Archpriest of San Pietro.' The 
Duke wrote to Lucrezia on the same day : — 

" Most illustrious and noble lady, our daughter-in-law 
and dearest daughter. Your Ladyship will hear from Messer 
Guglielmo, Archdeacon of Chilons, the present bearer, how 
to-day by the Divine grace the marriage has been contracted 
per verba de presenti between yourself, by means of your 

^ Minute to Bartolommeo de* Cavallieri and the Most CbrisdBB 
King, of August 1 1, to " the Duke of Romagna " [i.e. Cesare Borgia], 
of August 6. Aichivio di Modena, Minutario Cronohgico. 

* Gregorovius, pp. 174, 175. 

396 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

^^^^^ procurators, and the most illustrious Don Alfonso, 

^^*^ first-begotten. To us this thing has been a supreme 

^^^^^^Gtian and very great consolation in our old age. We 

-'^^^^^ thereat with your Lads^hip, whom we first loved in 

xi-o ordinary wise because of your own singular virtues, our 

^^^^^^^^^^ for the Holiness of our Lord, and because you 

^^^^ the sister of the most illustrious Duke of Romagna, 

'^^ ^^^^ hold as our honoured brother. Now we love 

you intimately more than a daughter, hoping that from 

yoiz ^virill result the conservation of our posterity ; and we 

snail endeavour to have you near us as soon as possible, 

accordixig to our desire." ^ 

Biit in his communication the next day to the Marquis • 
M.an"tiia, to his ambassadors in France, Venice and 
Florence, and to Bentivoglio, he simply stated that he had 
yiddeci ±o the exhortations of the Most Christian King, 
now that the Pope had agreed to his conditions. Indeed, 
he originally intended to say that he " had condescended " 
to ajrrange this relationship with the Pope, but thought 
better of it, and altered the word to " consented " before 
the dispatch was sent.* 

Therei ^werewild rejoicings in the Papal Court at the news 

that the fish had at last been brought to land. The Vatican 

was Ulnminated ; cannons thundered from Sant* Angelo. 

Lixcrezia could not contain herself for delight. She went 

tlnronglx Rome in state to give thanks in Santa Maria del 

T?opo\o, and her Spanish buffoon danced through the streets, 

cVveerixig for " the most illustrious Duchess of Ferrara." 

TrV\.e Yope, losing what Uttle dignity he had left to him, 

^ Minute Ducali of September i, 1501. Archivio di Modena, 
JMi^ulario Cronologico. 

« Mifmte Ducali of September 2. Ibid. 

397 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

assembled the Cardinals in consistory, and barangaed 
them about the virtues and prudence of Duke Ercole, the 
excellent qualities of Don Alfonso, the ancestral glories of 
the House of Este. 

On September 15 two Ferrarese envoys, Gerardo Saraceni 
and Ettore Berlinghieri, arrived in Rome. Their object 
was to secure the papal Bulls required, before their master 
committed himself further — Bartolommeo de' Cavallieri 
having warned him not to trust the Pope further than was 
necessary. Lucrezia received them enthusiastically, and 
showed herself the most zealous supporter of the Ferrarese 
claims. " She already seems to us an excellent Ferrarese," 
wrote the ambassadors. Festivities fast and furious followed 
in the Vatican, some of them far exceeding the bounds of 
propriety.* Lucrezia danced night after night, to the huge 
edification of his Holiness and the admiration of the 
Ferrarese envo3^, until she made herself quite ill. A few 
little complications remained. One was the personage 
whom the unsophisticated reader of these events might 
have imagined to be the bride's lawful husband, Giovanni 
Sforza of Pesaro, who was supposed to be lurking in Mantua. 
The Pope made the ambassadors write to Ercole that the 
unlucky man must be kept out of the way, and not allowed 
to come to Ferrara at the time of the wedding. Another 
was the little boy, Rodrigo, her son by Sforza's even 
more unfortunate successor ; but Lucrezia assured Gerardo 
Saraceni that he would stay in Rome and that ample pro- 
vision would be made for him. " Rome seems to me a 
prison," said the gay young lady, and she urged the Pope 
to do everything that Ercole wanted.* She had already 

* Cf. below, p. 402, note 2. 

* The Bull, reinvesting Ercole and Alfonso and their descendants 

398 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

begun axi affectionate and confidential correspondence with 
her prospective father-in-law. The envoys assured him 
that she had nearly fainted when she heard that he was 
ill, £txicl haxl expressed her ardent wish that she could have 
come to Kerrara to heal him with her own hands, as she had 
cJon^ iJiie Pope on a similar occasion.* With his usual 
anxiety that the dramatic and spectacular entertainments 
in the ooming celebrations should be worthy of his reputa- 
tion, EIrcole wanted to hear all about the mighty deeds 
of the ajiicestors of the Borgias in past ages, in order that 
they might be worked up for artistic purposes. But his 
ambassadors found it difficult to satisfy him. " Up to 
now,'* they wrote, " it is only of Calixtus that something 
virorthy is found, especially his own achievements, of which 
Platina -writes much. For the rest, it is generally known 
Mrhat this Pope has done, so that whoso has to make the 
oration Mrill have a wide field open before him." * This was 
perfectly tnie, though not quite in the sense in which the 
vnriters ostensibly meant it. 

Don Alfonso still maintained a sullen silence. The 
Empieror Maximihan continued to abuse the Pope and to 
blame the marriage, urging the Duke to draw back before 
it viras too late. Ercole promptly informed the Pope of 
this ** evil disposition " of the King of the Romans, and 
had his letters read to the papal orators at Ferrara. " Al- 
though as far as it concerns us," he wrote to his ambassadors 

with the Dukedom of Ferrara, is dated September 17, 1501 (Theiner, 
iii. PP- 5 1 '"Sis). The tribute is reduced to one hundred golden 
florins annually, or, in case of the direct issue of Alfonso and 
Lucreria failing, to one thousand. 

1 Gregorovius, p. 190. 

9 ]:>ispatch of October 18. Gregorovius, pp. 192, I93- 

399 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in Rome, " we do not make much account of this opinion 
of his Majesty, since we have done what we have with 
reason and feel every day greater satisfaction of soul 
thereat ; nevertheless, because of the tie that binds us to his 
Holiness, and in order that with his wisdom he may be 
able to judge of this demonstration for his other needs 
and affairs, we have thought that we ought to inform him 
of what we hear. We are persuaded that, with his prudence, 
he will examine and judge right well how far this evil dis- 
position of the said Majesty can matter to him."* The 
imperial opposition was for Ercole simply an excellent instru- 
ment with which to reduce his Holiness to docility. Alex- 
ander was profuse in his panegyrics of Lucrezia, her beauty, 
her graciousness and prudence. Cesare, who was now in 
Rome (Faenza had capitulated in April, and the partition ol 
the NeapoUtan Kingdom between France and Spain had 
been practically effected in July), also approved, but was 
" not at home " to the Ferrarese ambassadors — a, thing which 
the Pope declared grieved him to the very heart.* There 
were still some weeks of negotiation and haggling ; Ercole 
would not send to fetch the bride until he got his Bulls and 
her dowry paid down in hard cash, but professed himself 
insulted when Alexander said that he was acting like a 
merchant. Lucrezia continued to urge the Pope to yield 
in every particular, while Maximilian put all the pressure 
he could upon the Duke to delay. But, on November 14, 
Ercole wrote to the Marchesana Isabella (who had been the 
most emphatic of all the family against Lucrezia when it 
had been first proposed), that he had decided to send the 

1 Letter of October 23, 1501, to Saraceni and Berlinghieri. Ar- 
chivio di Modena, Carteggio degli AmbascicUori — Roma. 
* Dispatch of Saraceni, October 26. Gr^orovius, p. 191- 

400 







MlHi;' 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

company to Rome to fetch Lucrezia at the beginning of 
December, and that the marriage would be celebrated as 
soon as she arrived in Ferrara : — 

" Since you are our daughter, it is proper that you should 
be present at this wedding, and so we exhort you to come. 
And we are certain that the most illustrious Lord Marquis, 
your consort and our most beloved brother, will be most 
pleased at your coming hither, as he is always desirous to 
do whatever pleases us. And although we should not be less 
desirous that his Lordship also should be present at it, never- 
theless, for every sufl&cient reason, it seems to us better that 
he should not come, taking into account the condition of 
the presenttimes— aUof which we beUeve that his Lordship, 
too, in his prudence right well considers and knows. And 
so your Ladyship can give him to imderstand.'* ^ 

At the same time, a very different transaction was in 
progress between Ercole and Lucrezia. He had interested 
his Borgia daughter-in-law in his mystical aspirations, 
and especially in his cult of St. Catherine of Siena. As we 
saw, he had sent Bartolonuneo Bresciano to Rome, to induce 
her to use her influence with the Pope to get the ntrns that 
Lucia wanted sent from Viterbo and Nami to the new 
convent of Ferrara. "We desire greatly," he wrote to 
Lucrezia, " that an excellent b^inning should be given to 
that monastery with these nims, who are full of supreme 
goodness and charity. It will be easy for your Ladyship to 
obtain that we have what we desire^ and you will give us 
as great a pleasure as you could possibly give us by any 
other action that at present we could expect from you. As 
soon as we thought of using the means and favour of your 
Ladyship in this, we thought that we had gained our object. 
* Archivio di Modena, Minuiario Cronologico. 
401 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

And let not your Lad}rship wonder at this solicitation of ours, 
because, since we are in the state that we are, we attend 
more to affairs of the soul (like this is) than to other matters, 
and the affairs of the soul should be embraced with all 
possible fervour and efficacy.** * 

With this letter, Bresciano reached Rome on the evening 
of October ii, not without running considerable risk on 
the way from bands of French and Gascon soldiers who 
were marching from Lombardy to join the royal forces in 
the newly conquered Neapolitan provinces. He was de- 
lighted at his reception by Lucrezia, who promised to do 
all that the Duke wanted and induced the Pope to send 
messengers to the governors of Viterbo and Nanu with 
papal briefs and letters from the General of the Dominicans, 
threatening the nuns with excommunication unless they 
came to Rome within six days. " So I live in hopes," wrote 
Bresciano to Ercole, " that her Ladyship will bring them with 
her to Ferrara, to make a desired present of them to your 
Excellence and to the venerable Suora Lucia; and I 
shall not abandon the undertaking, as your Lordship has 
committed it to me, but shall keep continually near this 
most iUustrious Madonna until we are brought to Ferrara. 
Verily, this lady has taken up this thing with all her powers 
to get your Lordship gratified, and I find her Ladyship so 
well disposed towards you that she could not be more. I 
hope that your Excellence will be right well satisfied with 
this most illustrious Madonna, for she is endowed with so 
much graciousness and goodness that she continually 
thinks of nothing else, save how to serve you." * 

1 Letter dated Comacchio, September 28, 1501- Gandirn, 
Lucrexia Borgia, document 6. 

^ Dispatch of October 31. Gandini, op, ciL, document 14- ^"^ 

402 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

Esurly in November, Suora Diambra and Suora Leonarda 
canao "to Rome, accompanied by our old friend, the redoubtable 
Fra. ACajrtino. Their appeals to the General of the Domini- 
caxis axid to the Pope himself were of no avail. His Holiness, 
-withLOut: further words, told them that they were sent to 
FenrsLiTd.. Lucrezia was more kind, but equally firm, and 
told, tlxein plainly that, unless they produced those other 
nvuis ±Ix3Lt Ercole and Lucia wanted, she would herself send 
and fetch them on her own account. All sorts of excuses 
>vere no-w trumped up by these pious dames. " For my 
part," said Leonarda, " I cannot come, because I have my 
old mother who is infirm. If only my brother were alive, I 
could say that I would come, but never will I abandon my 
mother.** "You must obey the commands of the Pope," 
answered Bresdano severely. Then Diambra the prioress, 
whom Bresciano had previously noted as a woman of few 
words, suddenly gave tongue. " Suora Beatrice," she said, 
'* is so lame that she cannot move without two crutches. 
As to Snora Feliciti, we shall never give her to Suora Lucia, 
because she has the dropsy so badly that it would not do to 
put her Mrith the other sisters. Her family will never let 
Suora Appolonia come to Ferrara. - Lfet us go home, and we 
shall choose four nuns so good and sufl6cient that the vener- 
able Suora Lucia will be contented and well satisfied." ^ 



last day of October, 1 501, is the date of the notorious supper said by 
joliannes Burchardus {Diariutn, ed. Thuasne, iii. p. 167) to have 
been given by Cesare in his apartment in the Vatican to fifty harlots 
— the Pope and Lucrezia being present — and followed by an orgie 
of the most obscene description. For a discussion of this unpleasant 
topic, see Pastor, iii. p. 452, notei. It seems quite incredible, in the 
face of the laudatory epistles about Lucrezia's goodness and virtues 
that the Kerrarese agents were sending at this very time to the Duke. 
1 3rcsciano's dispatches of November 1 2 and 1 8, 1 501 . Gandini, op. 

403 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Ercole, however, persisted that he must have the women 
Lucia wanted ; seven from Viterbo, two from Nami, and 
two other young girls who were not nuns. He professed 
himself certain that Lucrezia would see the thing through. 
He declined to believe in Beatrice's lameness or in Felicities 
dropsy (though he was ready to dispense with Leonarda 
herself, if necessary), and suggested that Lucrezia should 
tell the Governor of Viterbo to speak with them. In the 
presence of Fra Martino and Bresciano, the Pope's daughter 
gave a thorough scolding to Diambra and Leonarda, whom 
she found " more obstinate than the devil," as Bresdano put 
it. The heads of the Dominican Order, understanding that 
Lucrezia had taken the matter in hand and that the nuns 
would be properly looked after until they got to Ferrara, 
made them give way. Bresciano went to Viterbo, with a 
commissary of the Pope, and brought the nuns wanted 
safely to Rome on December 21, the contingent from Nami 
coming in a few days later. The original idea had been for 
Lucrezia to bring them with her to Ferrara ; but this being 
obviously unsuitable, Ercole decided that his sacred prize 
— ^which was regarded as a present to liim and Luda from 
Lucrezia — should set out a day or two in advance of the 
bridal party, Lucrezia herself taking care that they were 
properly housed and provided for on the way with all pos- 
sible comfort in the cold winter weather. Hearing that 
there were a number of relations of the nuns who wanted to 



cii., documents 18 and 19. In the latter document I have cor- 
rected an evident error in the text. Gandini (pp. 15, 42) reads *'Ss 
sore Biatrice la priora dice essere siancaia " ; but it should obviously 
be " De sore Biatrice la priora dice/' the speaker being the prioress 
Diambra, as is quite dear from the context and from Ercoi«'« answer 
(document 21). 

404 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

^^'^'^^ *o Ferrara with them, Ercole professed himself well 

pleased. : ** Let all come who want to come, and caress them 

and txse every kindness towards them," he wrote to Bresciano, 

l>eca."iise also by us they will be well received and caressed."^ 

A^* tlie last, Suora Beatrice began to make fresh difficulties, 

l>xi"t -^rsLS apparently overcome by Bresciano hinting that, 

^with tier spirit and devemess, she would certainly be one 

of those -who vroxQd govern the monastery. Right glad was 

the v^oirtliy fellow when, on the last day of the year, he 

mustered his troublesome flock and found that not one of 

those his master wanted was missing. " My lord," he wrote, 

** I never Icnevr what labour was until I had to make so many 

heads agree. I thank our Lord God who has got me through 

it with credit, but there was a time when I doubted." * 

In the meanwhile, the splendid cort^e of princes and nobles 
of Kerrara had come to Rome to fetch Don Alfonso's bride. 
An the nohlest families in the Estensian duchies were repre- 
sented. The Cardinal Ippolito was the presiding genius ; 
with him -were his brothers Ferrando and the younger 
Sigismondo, his cousin the younger Ercole, Niccold Maria and 
Meliadnse d* Este (bastards of the House, and bishops re- 
spectively of Adria and Comacchio), Niccold da Correggio and 
Federigo della Mirandola, representatives of the Pio, Ran- 
goni, Strozzi and the like ; as special ducal ambassadors came 
Giaxx ILnca Pozzi of Pontremoli and Gerardo Saraceni, as 
hef ore, ^while a number of ecclesiastics and religious were 
l^eaded hy Maestro Zanetto, the Inquisitor of San Domenico.' 
^VT^ith them rode young Annibale Bentivoglio, whose presence 



^ Ga.ndini, op. cit., document 28. 

^ X>ispatch of December 31. Gandini, op, cit,, document 30. 
» Tlie whole list is given by Zambotto in his Silva Cromcatunt, 



axid in the Diario Ferrarese. 



405 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in Rome, according to the hopes of his father and Ercole, 
would augment the good dispositions of the Pope towards 
the Lords of Bologna.^ The whole cavalcade consisted of 
more than five hundred persons, superbly mounted and 
gorgeously arrayed, preceded by pipers and trumpeters ; but 
the weather was fearful and the journey, in the utmcKt 
discomfort, took thirteen days. 

On the morning of December 23, they made their state 
approach to the Eternal City. There were the usual recep- 
tions at intervals along the way. At the Ponte Milvio, the 
Senator of Rome and other civic dignitaries met them with 
two thousand men ; further on, they were greeted by Cesare 
Borgia and the French ambassador, with the Swiss guard. 
It was nearly evening when they reached the Porta del 
Popolo, where nineteen Cardinals awaited them ; a united 
procession was formed, Romans and Ferrarese together 
passing in triumph through the streets towards the Vatican, 
while the cannons of Sant' Angdo thundered out their wel- 
come. After a most cordial reception by the Pope, Cesare 
brought the Princes of Este to be introduced to his sister. 
Lucrezia appeared in a wonderful costume of white and gold, 
with a green headdress, all studded with the famous peark 
that she so loved. It was noticed that Cardinal Ippolito's 
eyes flashed when he saw her, and the others were equally 
delighted. The same evenmg Messer Gian Luca went with 
Saraceni to interview her, on behalf of Ercole and Alfonso, 
and sent the former a glowing account of her beauty and 
her piety — ^upon the latter point, seeing that she had 
promisedj^him the reversion of the bishopric of Reggio, 
he was surely a competent judge. Nevertheless, the 
tone of his dispatch shows that apprehensions had sUU 
^ Ct letters in Dallari, pp. 205, 206. 
406 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

been entertained at the Ferrarese Court. " Altogether/' he 
wrote, " she seems to me of so excellent a condition that 
there is no need or possibihty of fearing anything sinister 
from her, but we may rather presume, believe and hope 
always the best conduct." ^ 

By a decree of the Pope, the carnival now began, and 
for more than a week Rome was the scene of the wildest 
festivities. Lucrezia gave balls in her own palace, at 
which she danced specially with Don Ferrando, " gentilmente 
e con grazia singolare," while the Ferrarese and Mantuan 
guests eyed her damsels and judged that, with a few excep- 
tions, they could show fairer at home. The public ways 
swarmed with masked courtesans. The Cardinal and Fer- 
rando went with Cesare masked through the streets, while 
all Rome seemed rejoicing, though — as we learn from " El 
Prete," a dependant of Niccold da Correggio and correspon- 
dent of the Marchesana Isabella — bruUi giochi were played 
after dark.* On the evening of December 30, Lucrezia, in a 
magnificent costume of crimson and gold brocade, blazing, as 
usual, with pearls, emeralds and rubies, with a long retinue 
of cavaliers and ladies, was escorted in state by Ferrando and 
Sigismondo to the Vatican. In the Sala Paolina the Pope 
sat enthroned with the Cardinals and Cesare, the ambas- 
sadors of France, Spain and Venice being present. Here the 
marriage by proxy was celebrated ; Ferrando gave the bride 
the ring in the name of his brother, the Cardinal Ippolito 
presenting her with a superb casket of jewels, of the value 
of 70,000 ducats, the gift of Duke Ercole to his daughter-in- 
law. Races and a sham fight were exhibited in the Piazza 
beneath the windows, after which Lucrezia's damsels danced 

* Dispatch of December 23, 1501. Gregorovins, document 31. 

* Gregorovius, pp. 204, 205. 

407 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

f or an hour before the Pope, she and Cesare opening the ball. 
Alexander was nearly crazy with ddight and fondness, and 
laughed continually. Then there were comedies played, 
with allegorical pastorals, upon the conclusion of which the 
gathering broke up, leaving the Borgias and Estensian 
princes together to sup quietly with the Pope.* 

But the Duke of Ferrara by no means trusted either 
Alexander or his daughter completely. He had given 
Messer Gian Luca minute directions, before be left Ferrara 
and by letter since, as to the way in which Ippolito was to 
present the jewels to Lucrezia, and he charged the Cardinal 
strictly not to deviate in the slightest d^ree from these 
instructions, " in order that, in case the Duchess should fail 
in her duty towards the most iUustrious Don Alfonso, vre 
may not be more obliged than we wish to be, concerning these 
jewels." He was not to make an unconditional present of 
them to her, and there was to be no mention of them in the 
notary*s instrument.' The ambassadors, in a similar spirit, 
declined to give the papal authorities a receipt for the dowry, 
until every penny of it had been paid, and Ercole warmly 
conmiended their prudent conduct.* They had previously 
assured him that Lucrezia had told the Pope himself that she 
would never give his Holiness cause to blush for her conduct, 
and of this, "so far as we can judge,*' they declared them- 
selves convinced, being much edified by her bearing and the 
Ufe of her household.^ 



* Gr^orovins, pp. 205-207. . 

* Gregorovius, p. 206 ; MifiuU Ducali to Cardinal Ippolito, Pe- 
cember 21, 1501. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio deiPrindpi- 

* Minute Ducali to Pozzi and Saraceni, December 31. ArchivK) 
di Modena, Minutano Cronologico, 

^ Dispatch of December 28. Gregorovius, p. 213. 

408 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

The festivities reached their height on the first two daj^ 
of the new year, 1502. On January i, there was a great 
pageant in the Piazza San Pietro, given by the Roman 
municipality. Thirteen triumphal chariots, accompanied 
by a thousand men on horse and foot, with music and pre- 
ceded by the banner of the City, came from the Piazza 
Navona to the Vatican and moved round the square, setting 
forth the trimnphs of Hercules and of Caesar and the heroes 
of ancient Rome, while the Pope and his guests looked on 
from the windows. Then, in the Vatican, there were 
comedies and morris-dances ; shepherds recited the praises 
of Lucrezia, who sat at the Pope's right hand, siUToimded 
by the Cardinals. A buffoon danced before the Pope, 
dressed as a woman, the courtiers joining in, masked, with 
Cesare himself conspicuous among them by his splendid 
attire and noble figure. To the sound of trumpets, a tree 
appeared, out of which came a child who sang verses and 
threw cords of silk to the merrymakers, who whirled round it 
as they danced. Finally, at the Pope's command, Lucrezia 
descended from her throne and led out another dance with 
one of her Spanish ladies. 

The next day opened with a great bull-fight in front of 
San Pietro, in which Cesare took part and killed the most 
furious bull with his lance. In the evening there was a 
dramatic representation in the Pope's chamber, the whole 
being designed to glorify the new alliance between Este and 
Borgia. Virtue and Fortune strove together for precedence, 
until Glory appeared upon a triumphal car with the world 
beneath her feet, declaring that Caesar and Hercules had 
overcome fortune by virtue, relating the deeds of the Duke 
of Romagna. Hercules followed and fought with Fortune, 
whom he took and bound, releasing her only on Juno's 

409 D D 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

promise that neither would ever do anything against the 
Houses of Este and Borgia, but would favour this new 
relationship. Afterwards come Rome, on a triumphal 
chariot, and bewailed that Alexander, who held the place 
of Jove, should deprive her of Lucrezia, who was the refuge 
of all Rcrnie. Ferrara followed, without a triumphal 
chariot, declaring that Madonna was going to no unworthy 
place, and that Rome was not losing her. Then appeared 
Mercury, sent to establish concord between the two cities, 
announcing that it was the will of the Gods that Madonna 
Lucrezia should go to Ferrara, and he made Ferrara ascend 
upon a triumphal chariot and pass in honour across the stage. 
This being concluded, the Menaechmi of Plautus was played, 
and, in the scene where one of the twins is seized by order of 
his father-in-law, the actor cried out that he marvelled that 
they dared to use such violence to him, when Caesar and 
Hercules were on his side, and Jove propitious. This topical 
allusion, of course, raised much applause, and the preceding 
allegory inspired the Ferrarese agents with great hopes that, 
in the future, Ercole could count upon the aid of the Borgia 
against his enemies.^ 



^ These festivities are fully described in dispatches from Pozzi and 
Saraceni to Duke Ercole, and from El Prete to Isabella d' Este, both 
of January 2, 1502 ; documents 34 and 35 in Gr^orovius, pp. 414-417 
(also in his text, pp. 208-211). "All these things," wrote Gian 
Luca and his colleague, waxing eloquent over the all^ncal 
portion of the entertainment, " were recited in heroic verse, right 
elegantly, always celebrating greatly the conjunction between 
Caesar and Hercules, manifestly intending us to infer that together 
they should do great deeds against the enemies of Hercules, in such 
wise that, if the results corresponded with these prognostications, 
our affairs would come to a right good termination." The hint is 
directed against Venice. In a previous dispatch, of December 28, 
the envoys had seen grounds for hope that the Pope would help 

410 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

Amidst her preparations for starting, Lucrezia did not for- 
get to further Duke Ercole's rather numerous interests. 
She had already procured from the Pope the promise of the 
reversion of the bishopric of Reggio for Gian Luca Pozzi, and 
was exerting herself also on behalf of Don Giulio. " Since 
we greatly desire the honour and weal of the most illustrious 
Don Giulio, our son," wrote the Duke, "we pray your 
Ladyship, before you leave Rome, to be good enough to 
obtain from the Holiness of our Lord this other grace, that 
his Beatitude promise, as soon as an occasion presents itself, 
to confer a good benefice upon the said Don Giulio, such as a 
bishopric or a good abbey, as we beUeve that your Ladyship 
will easily obtain, through your influence, as also because 
of the excellent dispositions that the Holiness of our Lord 
bears towards us and our sons." * She was indefatigable in 
providing for the captured nuns, whom she dispatched upon 
their journey on January 4, giving Bartolommeo Bresciano 
an escort of crossbowmen and bidding him wait for her at 
Bologna, in order that she herself might bring them thence 
to Ferrara. This latter part of the plan fell through, as 
Ercole obviously thought it unsuitable and was anxious that 
the nuns should arrive some days before the bridal cortege. 
At Cesena, the troublesome Suora Beatrice fell ill ; but, by 
feeding her up with marchpane and bread sopped in chicken- 
broth, Bartolommeo brought her round; and, avoiding 
Bologna, they went on to Ferrara from Faenza, by way of 
Lugo and Argenta. The city was already in festal array to 



iv 



hi 



Ercole to recover the Polesine of Rovigo, and that, if a safe occasion 
presented itself, he would drive the Venetians from Ravenna and 
Cervia to give ^ese places to Cesare (Balan, v. p. 524, note 2). 

* Minute Ducali, undated, to Lucrezia. Archivio di Modena, 
Carteggio dei Prindpi, 

411 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

greet Lucrezia, when they arrived.* The Duke himself came 
out to meet them. The same day he wrote to Lucrezia, 
explaining that he had instructed Bartolommeo not to wait, 
but to bring them on by the shorter way of Lugo and 
Argenta, because he thought it would be inconvenient to her 
to have the nuns in her train, and because he was anxious 
to have them with him as soon as i>ossible. " You will be 
pleased that, without putting your cort^e to any incon- 
venience, these sisters have arrived here with celerity to 
satisfy our desire." * 

In the meanwhile, Lucrezia had turned her back for ever 
upon the Eternal City. She left Rome on January 6, riding 
a white mule covered with gold and silver trappings, all the 
Cardinals, ambassadors and magistrates accompanying her 
to the Porta del Popolo. The Pope rushed from window to 
window of the Vatican to follow her with his eyes as far as 
possible — perhaps some instinct told him that he was never 
to see his daughter again — and consoled himself with sending 
letters, both from himself and through the Cardinal of 
Modena, urging Ercole and Alfonso to treat her kindly. 
Cesare Borgia and the Cardinal Ippolito rode with her a little 
way, and then turned back together ; an imaginan' con- 
versation between these two worthies on their return would 
have furnished a fitting subject for Walter Savage Landor. 

The noble cavalcade of Romans and Ferrarese moved 
slowly through the Papal States, the people headed by their 
magistrates pouring out in gala attire to greet the new 
Duchess as she passed. In Foligno, they performed a 
pageant in her honour. The Lucrezia of old Rome 

* Gandini, op, cit., pp. 18-20. uodeoi 

* Minute Ducali of January 23, 1502. Archivio di mou , 
Carteggio dei Ptincipi, 

412 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

surpassed in virtue by her namesake and successor ; Paris 
revoked his sentence and gave the golden apple to her, 
eclipsirxg ail the ancient goddesses ; the Sultan appeared i 
a galley of Turks, and assured her that he would restore aJLl 
the conquered Christian lands. The Ferrarese ambassado 
found il: stupid; the verses, they said, were scarcely those 
Petraroa, and there was no point in the whole performance. ^ 
Two miles from Gubbio, the Duchess Elisabetta joined therrx , 
and accompanied Lucrezia all the rest of the way. Guido^ 
baldo himself, marked out for destruction by her Hous^ » 
met them near Urbino and made over his own palace ±cz^ 
Lucre^a. Thence, on January 20, they moved slowly do^vx^ 
to Pesaro — the city in which Lucrezia had lived as the wif^ 
o£ its now exiled lord, Giovanni Sforza, — ^where Cesare*^ 
agents received her. Here, practically for the first time, 
Lucrezia showed some signs of sensibihty ; in her former- 
husband's palace she kept to herself and, although she 
allowed a dance, was not present at it. Thence she passed 
on to Cesare's recent conquests of Cesena, Faenza and 
Imola ; at the time of her jubilant entering into the two 
latter towns, their dispossessed rulers, the beautiful young 
Astorre Manfredi and Caterina Sforza Riario, were beings 
kept closely imprisoned in Rome, and the former was /•] 

doomed to meet a fate of appalling atrocity, a few months 
later, by her brother's orders. At Bologna, the Benti- 
voglio, anxious to ingratiate themselves with the dreaded 
Cesare, gave her a sumptuous reception. Thence, on the 
morning of January 31, the bridal party started on their 
way to Ferrara by canal and river.* 

1 Dispatch of Pozzi and Saraceni, January 1 3, 1 502 . Gregorovius, 
document 37. 

3 It will be remembered that the courses of the Reno and Po have 



I 

3 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

On the evening of the same day, they arrived at Castello 
Bentivoglio, about twenty miles from Ferrara. Here the 
bridegroom, Don Alfonso, suddenly appeared upon the 
scene. He had come disguised with four horsemen to see 
his bride, stayed with her for a couple of hours, and then 
went back to Ferrara. This surprise visit of his, which was 
quite contrary to the usual ceremonial etiquette on these 
occasions, made an excellent impression. " It pleased all 
the people," writes Zambotto, " and much more the bride 
and all her friends, that his lordship should desire to see her 
and that he should be taking her with good heart, for it was 
a sign that she would be well received and better treated."^ 

Isabella had come from Mantua to do the honours of 
Ferrara to Lucrezia, and with the old Duke she arranged the 
whole thing. In her letters to her husband, she describes 
every detail in the pageantry and festivities, with many 
pretty little messages to him and to the children, especially 
the puUino Federigo, but shows clearly that she misliked the 
situation and was not over pleased at her brother's wedding. 
Still her bearing towards the bride was cordiality itself. On 
February i, she met her in her barge at Malalbeigo ; and 
together with the Duchess Elisabetta, Don Ferrando and 
Sigismondo, they went on to Torre della Fossa, the point 
where the canal joined the Po di Ferrara or Canale di Cento, 
which thence led to Ferrara itself. Cloth of gold and 
crimson silk, with profusion of pearls, was the distinguishing 
feature in the dress of Lucrezia ; Isabella wore a robe of 
green velvet worked with gold ; the more sober-minded 

been completely altered since those dajrs. A canal then ran torn 
Bologna to join the Po di Primaio near Ferrara itself. 

^ Lucrexia Borgia in Ferrara, sposa a Don Alfonso <f EsU,V9' '^' 
13 (Ferrara, 1867. C£. below, p. 41 8» note i). 

414 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

£Ilis3.l>etta, was clad in black velvet covered with golden 
de^vices. At Torre, the ducal bucentaur was in readiness, 
vei^li. "the axnbassadors of France and all the Italian Powers 
on bostrd ; Ercole and Alfonso, with their Court, were waiting 
on foot on the shore, and the mounted crossbowmen, bales-- 
tTi^tri^ in their gala dress of red and white, drawn up behind 
them. Lucrezia sprang to shore and was embraced by 
Ercole (it -was the first time that they had seen each other), 
v^ho attempted to prevent her kissing his hand. Then they 
all entered the great bucentaur, where the ambassadors were 
presented, and Lucrezia took her seat between the repre- 
sentatives of France and Venice, Ercole and Alfonso going 
up on the poop and amusing themselves with the bride's 
Spanish buffoons, who sang her praises. Amidst popular 
acclamation and salvos of artillery, they landed near the 
Porta San Paolo, and Lucrezia was brought for the night to 
the palace of Alberto d* Este in the Borgo San Luca, where 
Lucre^a d* Este Bentivoglio did the honours. 

Qn February 2, the Feast of the Purification of the 
Madonna, this new Roman Lucrezia made her state entry 
into FexTara. After hearing Mass and having dinner, Ercole 
3jj^^ Alfonso, with Alberto d' Este and the French ambas- 
sador, M^onsignor Filippo della Rocca Berti, came to fetch 
lier . Xliey entered the city by the Ponte del Castel Tedaldo, 
-L^^^x-ean^a, a mass of superb jewels and gems, in every sense 
j^^l3-tress of herself and of the situation. A beautiful white 
horse, tlie Duke's gift, had been brought her, covered with 
^x^ji^son cloth with most sumptuous ornaments of gold and 
,p^3xls. At the entrance to the city, the sudden discharge of 
a^xtillery frightened the animal, which reared and threw her. 
TViere was general consternation for a moment ; but she 
\anded on her feet, laughing gaily» and the Duke made her 

413 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

mount a mule instead. Looking round, she saw the French 
ambassador between the two Venetian envoys, and at once 
summoned him to her side, a position of honour which be 
retained for the rest of that day. 

The procession was headed by three squadrons of mounted 
balestfieri of the ducal guard, in red and white unif onus with 
white French hats and huge plumes, followed by more than 
a hundred trumpeters, pipers, and drummers. Then came 
all the courtiers and nobles of Ferrara, gorgeously arrayed 
and wearing massive gold chains and necklaces, attending 
upon Don Alfonso himself, who, mounted upon a superb 
bay horse, dressed in dark velvet covered with scales oi 
beaten gold and wearing a black and gold velvet cap with 
white feathers, rode slowly forward, accompanied by Anni- 
bale BentivQglio. The attendants of the Duchess of Urbino 
followed. Next came the bridal cortege proper : twenty 
Spanish and Roman gentlemen, riding two and two ; five 
bishops, to wit, the Estensi of Adria and Comacchio, the 
Bishop of Cervia, and two sent by the Pope, who, in spite of 
Ercole's soUcitation, had declared that it would not be pos- 
sible to allow a Cardinal to accompany the bride on this 
occasion ; and the ambass£tdors of the Tuscan Republics, of 
Venice and of Rome, in crimson mantles and brocade of 
gold. More musicians f ollowed,with Lucrezia's two buffoons, 
to introduce a Ughter note. Then, under a canopy of 
crimson silk carried by the doctors of the universities, 
appeared Lucrezia herself, riding her mule (the restive horse 
being led along in front), waited upon by six of her 
husband's chamberlains, and with the French ambassador 
riding alone by her side under the oanopy. Isabella, 
describing the pageant to the Marquis, noted that among tne 
magnificent jewels blazing all over her were those tna 

416 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

lircole had sent to Rome, induding the ones that had 
belonged to the writer's own mother, " the blessed memory of 
Madama of Ferrara."- Radiant with exultation, her sweet 
girHike face and slender figure making her appear even 
younger than she really was, Lucrezia won the hearts of her 
future subjects on the very day she entered the city, and 
had akeady almost reconciled the House of Este to the 
relationship. Side by side, Ercole himself and the Duchess 
Elisabetta followed after the canopy. A troop of " gentle- 
women and fair damosels," led by Angela and Girolama 
Borgia, the Pope's nieces, Adriana dei Mila and one of the 
Orsini, rode next, with Lucrezia BentivogUo and many others 
following in fourteen chariots, of which the first two were 
drawn by white horses and covered with gold brocade. Then 
followed some two hundred more balesMeri, partly mounted, 
partly marching on foot. A long array of mules, decked 
in moreUo and yellow, the bride's colours, brought up the 
rear, carrying her goods and treasures. 

At intervals along the way were the inevitable triumphal 
arches, painted with allegorical devices and m3^ological 
scenes. At four places were representations and recitations, 
which to Niccold Cagnolo, who was in the suite of the French 
ambassador, seemed "most worthy," but Isabella, writing 
to her husband, declared them not worth mention. The three 
goddesses with the golden apple, Hercules with the god of 
Love, Mercury with nsonphs appeared in succession, singing 
verses in honour of the bride and bridegroom ; nymphs and 
bucephalous men, with satyrs, danced and gamboled round 
Emropa mounted upon the red bull of the House of Borgia. 
It was evening by the time that the procession reached the 
great piazza. Instantly all the prisoners in the city were 
released, while from the Torre di Rigobello and the tower 

417 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

of the Palazzo della Ragione two acrobats flew down on ropes, 

amidst the applause of the vast crowd that had gathered 

together in Ferrara from every province of Italy to see the 

wedding. ** So full was the piazza in every part," writes the 

Ferrarese Diarist, " that if a grain of millet had fallen to 

earth, it would not have reached the ground." At the head 

of the great stairway of the palace (the Corte Vecchia), 

Isabella, in a marvellous robe embroidered over with notes 

of music, with Laura Gonzaga and the Estensian ladies, 

received the bride ; while, without in the piazza, all the 

musicians gathered together and played a long harmonious 

welcome, the bakstnen seized the baldacchino, and the 

servants of Ercole and of Alfonso fought together for the 

possession of Lucrezia's mule.^ 

Six days of festivities followed, with a series of dramatic re- 
presentations from Plautus,lightened by masques and morris- 
dances. In the afternoon of the day after Lucrezia's arrival, 
February 3, there was a great ball in the Sala Grande of the 
Corte. Lucrezia appeared in all her glory, and " danced many 
dances in the Roman and Spanish fashion to the sound of 
her tambourine-players." The crowd was so great that, 
after the bride had danced her dances alone, there was no 
room for much general dancing. Then came the comedies. 
First the Duke exhibited to his guests all the costumes that 

* Our chief contemporary sources for this " most happy and in»t 
fortunate" bringing of Lucrezia to Ferrara, and the '*^^^, i 
spectacles " of her wedding, are : the relaxione of NiccoB ^^^ 
Parma, inserted by Zambotto into his chronicle and V^^r^^^ 
Antonelli, Lucresia Borgia in Ferrara (an excerpt from Z^ ^ 
corresponding to ft. 359-380V of his chronicle) ; Sanudo, .^ ' 
coU. 222-230 ; the letters of Isabella d' Este to her husband, m l^ ^' 
NoHsis di Isabella d" BsU, pp. 303-309 ; the Diario Fsrroffst, 
410-413. 

418 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

were to be worn by the actors in all the performances, " in 
order," Isabella wrote to her husband, " that it might be 
known that these dresses were made on purpose, and that 
those of one comedy would not have to serve for the others." 
Then an actor came forward in the person of Plautus, and 
recited a prologue explaining the arguments of all the five 
comedies that were to be played during the week. On this 
first night, the Epidicus was represented, with five bdlissime 
moresche between the acts, including a mock fight of gladi- 
ators and a somewhat trivial allegory of the triumph of 
virtue. After the dance, on the next evening, the Bacchides 
was given, which, with its moresche, lasted five hours. One 
of these morris-dances included a dance of wild men, with 
horns of plenty full of some inflammable stuff that blazed 
up as they moved, and the deliverance of a distressed maiden 
from a voracious dragon by a knight. The Miles Ghriosus 
was represented on the evening of February 6, with dances 
of men covered with blazing torches so that they seemed all 
on fire, homed shepherds butting against each other as they 
danced, a triumph of Cupid, a dance of jugglers with darts 
and daggers. The next evening they had the Asinaria, with 
new moresche between the acts, dances of satyrs, mimio 
hunts of beasts and birds, and, at the end, the triumph of 
Agriculture, a s5miboUcal pageant of the whole life of tlie 
fields from sowing to harvest. Women took part in these 
entertainments as well as men and boys, the total number 
of actors being over a hundred. On the last day of the 
festivities, Febraary 8, which happened to be Shrove Tuesday, 
after the dance in the Sala Grande, there was a sumptuous 
performance of the Casina in another room, at which more 
than three thousand persons were present. The interludes 
were especially admired, though to-day they appear some- 

419 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

what pointiess. One apparently symbolized the victory of 
Love and Music over rude and savage natures, while in 
another twelve Swiss demced a fnoresca^ fighting with their 
halberds in time to the orchestra.* 

Isabella's daily letters to the Marquis of Mantua give us a 
vivid picture of these days, not untinged with a touch of 
maUce. The ladies have always to wait for Lucrezia, because 
she lingers for hours over her toilet, in order to suipass the 
Duchess of Urbino and the writer, whereas " I wiU not pass 
over in silence, in my own praises, that I am always the first 
up and dressed." As for the plays and interludes, they bored 
the Marchesana terribly, and the whole marriage seemed to 
her to be very cold. " I wiQ not deny," she says, " that 
your Excellence is taking more pleasure in seeing my little 
boy every day than I am getting out of these festivities," 
and she consoles herself by sending kiss after kiss to their 
puUifw. As to the Bacchides, she found it so long and tedious 
that she wished herself many times at Mantua. " It seems 
to me a thousand years till I am there again, both to see your 
Lordship and my Uttle son, and to get away from here, where 
there is no pleasure in the world. Your Excellence need not 
envy me for having come to this wedding, because it has 
been so cold an affair that I envy those who have remained 
at Mantua."* The Casina, she said, " was as lascivious and 
impure as one can say " ; and indeed her secretary, Benedetto 
Capilupo, writing to the Marquis, assured him that she had 
openly shown her displeasure during the performance, and 
had forbidden any of her damsels to be present at it^ 

* Cagnolo, he. cit., pp. 48-65; Sanudo,o/>. cii., iv. coll. 225, 226; 
Gregorovius, pp. 238-250. 

* letters of February 3 and 5. D'Arco, op. cit, pp. 307, 3^- 
' Luzio, / PreceUori d' Isabella (TEste, pp. 36, 37. 

420 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

There was, however, one personage who enjoyed himself 
immensely throughout these days, and that was Monsignor 
the ambassador of the Most Christian King. Every one, 
but especially the ladies, courted him and heaped attentions 
upon him. On the Friday, Febraary 4, Ercole came with a 
great train to the Palazzo BentivogUo, where he was lodged, 
and took him to Santa Caterina, where, after hearing Mass, 
they had mystical talk with Lucia, whose wounds were that 
day gushing out blood afresh. She gave him some pieces of 
cloth which she had held over them, and then the Duke took 
him away to inspect his artillery. The next day, Monsignor 
gave rich presents ; to the Duke, a shield of gold enamelled 
with a St. Francis, " of very subtle workmanship of Paris " ; 
to Lucrezia, a golden rosary exquisitely wrought ; to Alfonso 
and Ferrando, shields like the Duke*s, with St. Mary Mag- 
dalene and St. Francis, respectively ; and " to the most 
illustrious Madonna Angela Borgia, a most elegant damosel,** 
he gave " a chain or collar of gold, most subtly worked and 
of notable value." That evening, there being no state ball 
or performance, IsabeDa gave a little supper in his honour, 
the Duchess of Urbino being the chief guest. After supper, 
" the Lady Marchesana herself with her lute in hand saxi^ 
several canzonette, with the greatest melody and sweet- 
ness " ; and when, after an hour's secret talk in her chaml>er 
in the presence of two of her damsels, he rose to take his 
leave, she gave him the gloves which she had on her hands, 
" which the Lord Ambassador accepted with reverence and 
love, as proceeding from that most sweet fountain. Verily, 
they will be preserved by him in a holy place even unto the 
consummation of the world." * 

* Cagnolo, he. cit,, pp. 52, 54-57- 
421 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA | 

The next momii^, the Sunday of the carnival, the Duke 
sent him a magnificent golden collar, with golden pendants , 
set with rabies, diamonds and large pearls. At High Mas i 
in the Duomo he was the chief personage when the Bishop i 
of Camiola, specially deputed from Rome for the purpose, i 
confirmed the Ferrarese duchy to Don Alfonso, placing the 
ducal cap upon his head and the blessed sword in his hands 
in the name of the Pope. It was noticed that neither Duke 
Ercole himself nor the Venetian orators were present. 

On the day after the performance of the last comedy (Ash 
Wednesday, Febraary 9), the Venetian orators came to take 
their leave of Lucrezia. They found the Marchesana of 
Mantua and the Duchess of Urbino with her, and took the 
occasion to pay their farewell visits to them too, with the 
usual ceremonious observances and speeches in the name of 
the Republic. Isabella promptly answered them back in 
kind, " with such great elegance and prudence that it would 
have sufficed for every consummate orator," and sounded her 
husband's praises so eloquently that all that heard were 
astoimded. Elisabetta answered wisely in her turn. But 
poor Lucrezia, probably painfully conscious that she had 
neither the wit nor talent of her two rivals, was not equaDy 
successful. " Although she has had to do with more men 
than have your wife and sister," wrote Capilupo to the 
Marquis, " she got nowhere near their prudent replies."* 

Duke Ercole, however, appeared more than satisfied with 
the way the whole affak of the marriage had been carried 



* Letter of February 9 from CapUupo to the Marquis of Mantna. 
Luzio, / Precettori d* Isabella (TEste, pp. 36, 37. By a printer's error, 
it is dated February 17, in Manlova e UrbinOy pp. rrfi ^^5- ^ 
secretary's equivoque, ha praHcato pitli homini, etc., is of cou 
intentional and malicious. 

422 



THE COMING OF MADONNA LUCREZIA 

through, and his letter to the Pope may be taken as the 
final reception of Alexander's bastard daughter into the 
noblest and proudest House of Italy : — 

" Before the most illustrious Duchess, our conunon daugh- 
ter, arrived here, my firm intention was to caress her and 
honour her, as is fitting, and not to fail in anything per- 
taining to singular affection. Now that her Ladyship has 
come here, she has so satisfied me, by the virtues and worthy 
qualities that I find in her, that not only am I confirmed in 
this good disposition, but the desire and intention to do so 
have greatly increased in me ; and so much the more as I 
see your Holiness, by a brief in your own hand, lovingly sug- 
gests this to me. Let your Holiness be of good cheer, 
because I shall treat the said Duchess in such wise that your 
Beatitude may know that I hold her Ladyship for the dearest 
thing that I have in the world." * 

* Letter of February 14, 1502. Gregorovius, document 38. 



423 



Chapter XII 
THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

THE coming of the Duchess Lucrezia was the last great 
pageant that Ferrara saw for more than a quarter of 
a century. It was the turning point in this strange woman's 
life. Henceforth she appears as a model of propriety, 
and no breath of scandal again soils her name. She had 
already completely gained the heart of the old Duke and 
the enthusiastic admiration of her new subjects. She 
conquered the aversion of her husband and even, to some 
extent, won his affection. A little later, that model of 
Christian chivalry, the chevalier Bayard, and his French 
knights exalted her as the ideal of noble womanhood. Wlien, 
after seventeen years, Alfonso announced her death to 
Federigo Gonzaga, there can be no question of the heart- 
felt sincerity of his grief for the loss " of so sweet and deara 
companion, for such was she to me, by reason of her gracious 
character and the tender love that there was betwixt us."^ 
Not that this happy result was immediately obtained. 
Alfonso at first made no pretence of being faithful to his 
Borgian bride, nor did the Pope expect it of him. Once 
satisfied that the two continually slept together— the 
Borgias evidently dreading lest the same trick should be 

* Letter of June 24, 15 19. Gr^;orovius, p. 336, Cf. Yriarte, 
Autour des Borgia, p. 139. 

424 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

played upon them as they had served Giovanni Sforza — 

his Holiness professed himself perfectly contented, and saw 

no objection to Alfonso, for the rest, taking his pleasure 

where tie chose/ And, as a matter of fact, Lucrezia saw 

but little of her formidable husband in these first years 

of her married life in Ferrara. Alfonso was either absorbed 

in his favourite mechanical pursmts, or else absent from 

the city, travelling in Italy and France, which gave him a 

wider outlook upon the world than had most of his Italian 

contemporaries, but naturally did not tend to make him 

popular with his future subjects. 

We have already met the son of the Venetian Visdomino, 
who bad come to inform Ercole and Isabella of the alliance 
between France and the Signoria.* This youth, then nineteen 
years old, was no other than Ketro Bembo, whose father 
had represented Venice in Ferrara since 1497, and who was 
destined in after years to play the part by turns of the 
Socrates and the literary dictator of the sixteenth cen- 
tury- Young though he was, he was already a leading 
figure in the literary circles of the city, when the new Duchess 
came to Ferrara. He fell madly in love with her, and she 
encouraged his devotion. On Lucrezia's part, indeed, it 
seems to have been nothing more than an acceptance of the 
courtly service of the latter-day troubadour to his lady ; 
but it is clear that Bembo's worship was more passionate, 

* Cf. the extract from Beltrando Costabili's dispatch of April i, 
1 502. Gregorovius, p. 267. But, after an illness of Lucrezia's in the 
summer of this year, Alfonso went to Loreto to satisfy a vow made 
to the Madonna for her recovery. He had vowed to go on foot, but 
Ercole had him dispensed and sent in a ship. Minute Ducali to 
Beltrando Costabili, October 9, 1 502 . Archivio di Modena, Minutario 
Cronologico. 

' See above, p. 346, note. 

425 E E 



J 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

and Lucrezia seems to have received letters from him which i 
would have seriously compromised both, if they had fallen 
into the hands of her husband.* More frequently, however, 
Angela Borgia, her cousin and favourite lady-in-waiting, 
appears to have been at once the screen of the poet's love 
and his emissary in approaching the Duchess. "They 
say," wrote the daring lover, when absent from Ferrara, 
probably at Venice, " that each one has a good Angel who 
prays for him. I pray that Angel, who can pray for me, 
that he pray to FF for what he knows that I need. This 
much know I, that my steadfast and pure faith desenes 
that you shotdd be the friend of pity towards me. For if 1 
were an Angel, as he is, I shotdd be seized with much pity 
for each one who loved in the way that I love. With my 
heart do I now kiss that hand of yours which I shall soon 
come to kiss with the mouth that ever has your fair name 
upon it — ^nay, rather, with this soul, that would in that 
moment come to my lips to take in this wise a sweet ven- 
geance for its sweet wound."* But though Luaezia 
accepted his homage and even came to his bedside to visit 
him in an illness, she had no thought of playing Guenevere 
to his Lancelot. 

* Bembo's letters to Lucrezia are contained in vol. viii. of the 
collected edition of his works (Milan, 1805-13), those openly 
addressed to her being among the letters " a Prindpesse e Signore 
ed altre Gentili Donne scritte," the others (numbered only) among 
the " lettere giovenili e amorose." Can the compromising letter 
91, dated Venice, February 10, 1503, be really to her ? 

« Letter 84. FF is Lucrezia ; the aUusion to an Angd in the 
masculine, as a different person from the recipient of the letter, is an 
intentional piece of mystification. A comparison of this with the 
other letters (e.g. 86) makes it clear that it is addressed, not to 
Lucrezia herself, but to Angela. We may here remark that Angela 
Borgia was a grand-daughter of the Pope's sister, Juana, and 
therefore second cousin to the Duchess. 

426 



th:e last years of duke ercole 

In the meanwhile, Cesare Borgia was not hiding his one 
talexil: in the earth. At the beginning of June, 1502, he 
had yonng Astorre Manfredi and his boy brother brutally 
mnrciered, and their bodies flung into the Tiber. Having 
tlins "brought the succession of Faenza to a satisfactory 
Conclusion, he suddenly and treacherously invaded the 
r>\ichy of Urhino. The whole duchy was lost in a day, the 
fortress of San Leo alone holding out for a few weeks, while 
Dnke Gnidobaldo, flying for his life \Yith his adopted nephew 
and heir, the little Francesco Maria della Rovere, and 
hunted from place to place like a felon, escaped to Ravenna, 
and thence, through the Ferrarese territory, to Mantua. 
There he found the Marquis " so affectionate that one could 
not desire more." * Isabella indeed, on the first news of the 
conquest of XJrbino, attempted to obtain for herself a share 
of the spoils, in the shape of a marble Venus and a Cupid, 
which, she said, she was sure that Cesare could spare her, 
•' understanding that his Excellence does not take much 
delight in antiquities " ; * but she was most kind to both 
Guidobaldo and Elisabetta, and put pressure upon her 
husband to use all his influence with the King of France on 
their behalf, -while he was in attendance upon him at Milan. 
A few days later she wrote, wild with sudden terror, hearing 
that he had spoken ill of the Borgia in the presence of the 
King and of some of the papal agents, to implore him to take 
all possible precautions lest Cesare should have him poisoned 
tor his words. For her sake and for that of their child 
(^Cesare' s own god-son, be it observed !), let him be more 

* Guidobaldo describes his escape in a long letter of June 28, 
I ^02, irom Mantua to the Cardinal GiuUano. Alvisi, document 60. 
« Letter of June 30, 1502, to the Cardinal Ippolito. Ibid., docu- 
xnc^nt 61 • 

427 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

careful at table and have his food properly tasted. "My 1 
Lord, do not make mock of this letter of mine, nor say thai 
women are cowardly and always afraid ; for the malignit) 
of these men is far greater than my fear or your Lord- 
ship's courage." * 

Remembering her own happy visit to Urbino on her way 
to Ferrara a few months before, Lucrezia expressed the 
greatest sorrow at the misfortunes of Guidobaldo and Elfea- 
betta, and protested that, to the utmost of her power, die 
would never fail them." Ercole, however, would not commit 
himself. " You wiU have heard,*' he wrote to Alfonso, who, 
like the Marquis of Mantua, was with the King at Milan, 
" of the acquisition which the most illustrious Duke of 
Romagna has made of the Duchy of Urbino. It can well he 
that men speak variously of this affair there, as also they . 
do here. We have therefore thought well to warn you that, j 
if you speak about it, you speak in such a way that you do 
not offend the Most Christian Majesty or any of his friends. 
nor the said most illustrious Duke of Romagna; tat 
with modesty and wisely, so that no one can take excep- 
tion to what you say, and according as in your prudence 
you shall know what to do, you being there on the spot."' 

France and Spain were now about to rend eadi other 
for the spoils of conquered Naples. Ercole, who, besides 
sending Alfonso and Sigismondo, had personally met and 
paid his homage to King Louis in the short visit that the 
latter had made to the Milanese duchy this summer, natur- 

* Letter of July 23, 1502. Luzio and Renier, Mantova e L>fc'«^i 

PP- 136, 137. 

' Luzio and Renier, op. cit., p. 125. 

a Minute Ducali of June 30, 1502. Archivio di Modena, Cctrttiti^ 
dH Principi, 

428 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

lUy attaolied himself to the side of France. By a letter 
dated from Milan, on September 22, the King invested 
" our well-beloved kinsman, the Duke of Ferrara," with the 
town of Cottignola— very much against the will of the 
inhabitants. They made a hostile demonstration against 
the dixcal commissary when he entered the town, on October 
25 ; the contadini joined with the townsfolk, men, women 
and children, in shouting " Franza, Franza," until the royal 
procurator, Cesare Guaschi, reassured them by a glowing 
account of the clemency and benignity of Ercole's rule.^ 
Their special fear seems to have been lest they should be 
put under the commissary of Lugo, or some other Ferrarese 
o&icial in Romagna. In the following year, Ercole sent some 
six thousand balestrieri and men-at-arms to Mantua, to 
join the royal army that was being gathered in Lombardy 
under Gonzaga's command ; and, although broken in health, 
he went himself to Parma to confer with the commander- 
in-chief, la Tr6noille. The Ferrarese contingent, under 
Giulio Tassoni and others, was in the French army that, 
at the end of 1503, Gonsalvo crushed at the Garigliano. 

Lucrezia had by this time completely settled down in her 
position as Duchess of Ferrara — the title already given to 
her in anticipation by all the Court and by Duke Ercole 
himself- At the carnival of 1503, when the Menaechmi was 
represented, the chroniclers describe her as sitting by the 
Duke's side, "most ornately attired, with great jewels." 



* See documents in Alvisi, pp. 540, 541 . Ercole had previously 
instructed his envoy to ask the King for Cottignola, on the plea 
that, although it was held by the Duchy of Milan, it had paid 
no taxes to Milan, and had formerly belonged to the Estensi. 
Isiruzione per Francia a Giovanni Valla, August 2g, 1500. Archivio 
di Modena, Carieggio degli Ambasciatori — Francia. 

429 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

The Holy Week of this year was celebrated with mucli 
solemnity, as was alwa)rs done in Ferrara when the conditions 
of Italy were more than usually disturbed and threatening. 
On Maundy Thursday, April 13, the Duke gave a sumptu- 
ous dinner to a hundred and fifty poor men in the Sala 
Grande of the Palace, himself with his sons and chief cour- 
tiers waiting upon them at ^able. Afterwards, on te 
knees, he washed and wiped the feet of all, and gave them 
presents of clothes and money, while his choristers sang the 
antiphons prescribed by the Church, begimiing with the 
mandatum novum : " A new commandment I give unto 
you : that you love one another, as I have loved you, saith 
the Lord." On Good Friday, after the sermon and Mass, 
the whole Passion of Christ was represented on a great 
stage erected in the Duomo, Lucrezia and her ladies sitting 
with Ercole on a raised platform opposite. Near the roof a 
Heaven had been constructed, which opened and from which 
an Angel descended with the chahce to Christ who prayed 
in the Garden. Before the high altar was Mount Calvai), 
with the Crucifixion. At the other end of the stage was the 
mouth of HeU, in the form of the head of a gigantic serpent, 
out of which trooped the ducal choristers, robed as the 
fathers in Limbo, " sweetly singing lauds." "Everything 
was done in praiseworthy fashion. It lasted five hours, with 
much devotion."* 

A few days after Easter, Isabella came from Mantua* 
received by Lucrezia with aU possible demonstrations 
love and affection. There were more miracle-plays F 
formed in the Duomo, at which the two ladies and the D J 
were present. The Annunciation, in which the Angel 

* Zambotto, ff. 389V, y^* 
430 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

descended to the Blessed Virgin in a wonderful rain of light, 
especially moved Isabella's not too facile admiration, and 
it was followed by the Visitation to St. Elizabeth and the 
Dream of Joseph. The whole was in much the same style 
as the representation on Good Friday had been. On 
another day, they had the Adoration of the Magi and the 
Massacre of the Innocents.^ In consequence of the recent 
death of the Duke's half-brother, Rinaldo d' Este, the 
customary horse-race for the feast of St. George, April 24, 
was not run ; but Ercole instead gave the prize, the polio 
of gold brocade, " to the monastery of the sisters of Santa 
Caterina where Suora Lucia of the Stigmata lives." ' The 
Duke was much concerned with Lucia's wants and wishes 
in this year, and was in correspondence with his nephew, 
the Bishop of Adria, on the subject. On Jime 18, we find 
him writing to the latter at Viterbo, inclosing a communi- 
cation "which is of very great importance," to be sent 
on instantly with all speed to Bartolommeo Bresciano 
at Nami. The mysterious inclosure, treated thus as 
though it were an urgent political document, is simply 
this:— 

"Herewith we send thee a letter that the mother Suora 
Lucia writes to Suora Anna ; we would have thee give it 
to her instantly, and from it you will see all that she writes 



1 Letter from Isabella d* Este to the Marquis of Mantua, April 
24, 1503. D'Arco, Noiizie, pp. 310, 311 ; Zambotto, fE. 391*'. 392- 

^Zambotto, £. 392. In the previous February, Berardo da 
Recanati, physician of the Pope and bishop-elect of Venosa, had 
examined the stigmata in the presence of Ercole, Lucrezia, the papal 
vicar-general Pietro Gambo, and Gugliehno Raunondo (a nephew 
of Alexander), and reported that they had all been profoundly 
edified by Lucia's conversation. Document in Giacomo Marcianese, 
Narratione, pp. 204-207, and Ponsi, op. cit., pp. 216-219. 

43^ 



J 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

to her. Wlierefore, we will and commit to you that you 
should execute all that is contained in that letter." ' 

Although the Cardinal Juan Borgia held the Bishopric 
of Feirara, he never set foot in the city. On bad terms 
with his papal uncle, he still remained in Rome, heaping up 
wealth. Paolo Cappello had told the Venetians that tlx 
Cardinal " would gladly lead the life of a merchant ; he 
would like to have thirty thousand ducats on his desk, 
and lend them out at usury. He is most miserly ; he thinks 
much of a ducat." * This was a dangerous kind of life 
to lead in the Rome of the Borgias, especially when the Pope 
was your heir and Cesare needed money for his mercenary 
soldiers, to complete his conquest of the rebellious feudatories 
of the Chiurch. At the beginning of August, the Cardinal 
suddenly died, and the Pope succeeded to the vast wealth 
that he had left behind him. Antonio Giustinian, wto 
had replaced Cappello as Venetian orator in Rome, wrote 
to the Doge that it was believed that the Cardinal had been 
poisoned by Cesare.^ His nephew, Gughelmo Raimondo, 
the captain of the Palatine Guard, died about the same 
time. From a window of the Vatican, Alexander watched 

* Archivio di Modena, Minutario Cronologico, June 18, 150J 
The phrasing is a little ambiguous, but I take it that it is from 
the letter and not from Anna that Bresciano is to have the explana- 
tion. Lucia's letter has not been preserved, but presumably it was 
about getting more nuns, as there had been fresh desertions from tnc 
convent. 

* Sanudo, Diarii, iii. col. 843. 

'Dispatches of August 2 and 3, 1503. Dispacd di Antonto 
Giustinian, ii. pp. 92-94. " It is publicly afl&rmed that he too, 
has been sent by the way along which have gone all the others, 
after they have grown right plump, and the fault of this is laid to tfic 
Duke's door." The Cardinal Michiel had certainly been poisonea 
by Cesare in the previous year, and possibly the Cariinai Fcrra/i- 
Cf. Pastor, iii. pp. 464-466. 

432 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

the funeral procession. "This month is deadly for fat 
people/' he muttered. A dark bird of some kind flew in to 
the room, and fell down at his feet. The terrified Pontiff 
fled into his bedroom, repeating again and again : " An evil 
omen, an evil omen is this." * 

A fortnight later, a thrill of exultation ran through all 

in Italy who looked for righteousness. Pope Alexander 

VI was dead. He died on August i8, of a fever contracted 

at the famous supper at the villa of the Cardinal of Cometo; 

and Cesare himself lay at death's door. The contemporaiy 

legend of the two, father and son, having been poisoned 

by the wine that they had prepared for their host, is now 

rejected by all serious historians— relegated to the same 

category as the wonderful account given by the Marquis of 

Mantua to IsabeUa of how the devil in person had come to 

claim the soul of his creature, who had sold himself to him 

for the Popedom and whose time was now expired.* 

Ercole was usually cautious in his written utterances, 
but this time he spoke plamly. " To make thee clear about 
that which thou art asked by many," he wrote to Gian 
Giorgio Seregnio, his ambassador at Milan, " whether we are 
sorry for the death of the Pope, we assure thee thafit does not 
displease us in any respect ; on the contrary, for the honour 
of our Lord God and for the universal utility of Christen- 
dom, we have for a long while desired that the Divine 
goodness and providence should give us a good and exem- 
plary pastor, and that so great a scandal should be taken 
away from the Church. Nor could our own private interests 
make us desire otherwise, because the honour of God and the 
universal weal will preponderate with us. But we teU thee 

^Sigismondode'Conti, ii. p. 267; Yriaxte, Cisar Borgia, ii.p: 152. 
^Gr^orovius, document 49. 

433 



Ii 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

further that never was there a Pope from whom we had not 
more favour and satisfaction than from this, even after 
the affinity contracted with him ; we have only and hardly 
had what he was bound to, for which we did not depend 
upon his faith ; in nothing else, great or small, have ^ 
been gratified by him. This we believe to have come about 
in great part through the fault of the Duke of Romagna, 
who, because he could not use us as he would have wished, 
has treated us as a stranger, nor ever been open with us nor 
communicated his proceedings to us ; neither have we 
communicated ours to him. And latterly, since he incline 
to the Spaniards and sees us loyal to France, we have never 
hoped for any advantage either from the Pope or from his 
Lordship. Therefore we are not sorry for this death, and 
were expecting nothing but evil from the greatness of the 
said Lord Duke. We wish you to communicate this our 
secret exactly to the Lord Grand Master,* as we would not 
have our mind concealed from his Lordship; but speak 
discreetly about it to others, and then send back this letter 
to the reverend Messer Gian Luca our counsellor."* 

Lucrezia's position at Ferrara was not a pleasant one at 
this juncture — and was only rendered tolerable by the tact 
and kindness of Ercole. The King of France openly hinted 
that she might be repudiated. " I know," he said to the 
Ferrarese ambassador, " that you have never been pleased 
at that marriage ; this Madama Lucrezia is not even the 
effective wife of Don Alfonso." ^ She probably heard some- 
thing of the horrible stories of her father's death that spread 
through Italy, and certainly reahzed the danger in which 

* Chaumont, the French governor of Milan. 

* Letter of August 24, 1503. Gregorovius, docimeat 4^- 
^ Gregorovius, pp. 274, 275. 

434 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 



her "brother was. Bembo has painted in touching words 
her api>eajrance in the first burst of her misery, in her dark- 
ened room, robed in black and with the marks of abundant 
Aveeping on her face.^ But no ungenerous thoughts seem 
to have found place in the hearts of the Estensian sovereigns. 
In spite of \vhat he had written to Milan, Ercole lent ear to 
Cesaxe's a,pp>eal through the Ferrarese ambassador in Rome, 

and seeing that the only choice was between him and the 

Venetians — ^sent Pandolfo CoUenuccio into Romagna to 
prevail lapon his subjects to remain faithful. Nevertheless, 
Duke Gnidobaldo returned to Urbino and Giovanni Sforza 
re-entered Pesaro in triumph. At the beginning of Septem- 
ber, Cesare was conveyed in a litter to Nepi, where he put 
himself under the protection of the army of France, which 
was in the neighbourhood under the nominal command of 
the Marquis of Mantua. A few days later, Ercole wrote to 
congratulate him on his convalescence and on his wisdom 
in throMning in his lot with the French. " As to your affairs 
in Romagna," he wrote, " we have sent a suitable person 
to those peoples, to do what your Lordship, before you left 
Rome, had us besought by the letters of our ambassador 
there, to keep their minds well disposed and steadfast in their 
devotion to youx Excellence. As you will have heard, our 
men-at-arms are in the camp of the Most Christian King. 
We axe certain that the authority and will of his Most 
Cliristian Majesty will make such provision that your 
Lordship, where need shall arise, will be succoured by his 
protection." * 

^ Letter to the Duchess, of August 22, 1503 {Opere, vol. vizi. 
pp. 5-7)- C^- Canello, Storia delta LeUeraiufa Itdlidna nd secolo xvi., 
p. 24, for real date of the letter. 

» Letter of September 15, 1503, from Codigoro. Alvisi, op. cit,, 
pp. 581 » 582. 

435 




DUKES AND POETS IN FERBIARA 

In the downfall of her House, Lucrezia's little son Rodrigi 
had lost his duchy, and even his life was threatened. Th€ 
Cardinal of Cosenza, his guardian, proposed to sell aD te 
goods and convey him in safety to Spain. Ercole, in a very 
kind and fatherly letter, urged Lucrezia to agree to the 
Cardinal's proposals: — 

" We have had the letter of your Ladyship, together wiifc 
that of Monsignor the most reverend Cardinal of Cosenza 
directed to you, which you have sent us, which we send back 
to you with this of ours, and which has not been read by any 
person save by us ; and we have noted the very prudent 
writing of your Lad3^hip and of the said most reverend 
Cardinal, who is moved by so many good reasons that one 
cannot but judge that he is loving and wise. Wherefore, 
after considering the whole, it seems to us that your Lady- 
ship can and ought to consent to all that the said most 
reverend Monsignor proposes to do. We think that your 
Ladyship owes him some gratitude, for the demonstration 
and proof of so much cordial love that he clearly beats to 
you and to the most illustrious Don Rodorico your son, 
who, one can say, has been preserved in Ufe by his means. 
And although Don Rodorico will be somewhat severed from 
your Ladyship, it is better to be so far away and safe, than 
near with the danger in which he evidently would be ; nor, 
because of this distance, will the love between you be at all 
diminished. When he has grown up, he will be able accord- 
ing to the condition of the times to decide on his own course, 
whether to return to Italy or to stay ; and it is a good pro- 
vision which Monsignor the Cardinal suggests, to sell 
movable goods and purchase there, to supply bis needs, 
increasing his income, as he says he will do. Where o ; 
on every consideration, as we have said, it seems o 

436 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

that it is well to agree to his will. Nevertheless if to your 
Ladyship, who is most prudent, it should seem otherwise, we 
yield to your better judgment." ^ 

Needless to say that Ercole was profoundly interested in 
the election of a successor to Pope Alexander. It would 
have been the first conclave in which a member of the House 
of Este had taken part ; but Ippolito fell from his horse on 
the -way to Rome, and was laid up at Florence. Ercole, by 
letters to Bartolommeode'Cavallieri and to King Louis him- 
self , pledged his son to do his utmost for the election of " a 
good pastor and one that would please the Most Christian 
Majesty," but regretted that Ippolito's fall would make it 
impossible for him actually to vote.* He wrote to him from 
Belriguardo, that he had heard from the Grand Master 
(Chaumont) at Milan that the King wished to do all that was 
possible to secure the election of the Cardinal of Rouen, " in 
which his Majesty and the said Grand Master desire your 
vote and your work." Although the news of his accident 
has reached Milan, Chaumont still seems to hope that 
Ippolito can have himself brought to Rome in time for the 
conclave. " It would please us much if your most reverend 
Lordship were in such a state that you could do it, because 
this is a very great occasion to be able to satisfy the Most 
Christian Majesty and the most reverend and most illustrious 
Monsignor the Legate." But, if he really cannot move, 
let him pay all the honour that he possibly can to the Car- 
dinals of the French faction (the Legate Amboise himself, 

* Letterof October 4, from Codigoro . Archivio di Modena, Carieggto 
dei PHndpi. It is not quite accurately transcribed in Gregorovius, 
document 50. 

^ Minute Ducali of August 28, 1503. Archivio di Modena, 
Minutario Cronologico. 

437 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Ascanio Sforza, who had been released from his Frend 
captivity on condition of supporting Amboise's candidature, 
and the Cardinal of Aragon) when they pass through Florence, 
" not omitting to inform his most illustrious and most 
reverend Lordship of what you were going to do in favour 
of his election, and also that you had been exhorted about 
this by us, and that we had bidden you follow and do all that 
you understood to be the will of the Most Christian King."* 
Finding his own elevation impossible, the Cardinal of 
Rouen supported the nomination of the excellent old Cardinal 
of Siena, Francesco Piccolomini, who was elected Pope on 
September 22, and took the title of Pius III, in memory of 
his uncle. The new Pontiff had alwa}^ shown himself most 
friendly towards the Estensi, and the Duke and Cardinal 
shared in the general satisfaction. Ercole wrote to implore 
Ippohto to send him every minute detail of the way in which 
the election had been carried out. " Suppose that we know 
nothing about it, and that we wotdd fain understand it and 
see it as if we had been present. Assume that we are entirely 
ignorant of this elevation, and that we must needs be in- 
formed about it from the alpha to the omega." * By a 
brief dated October 8, the day of his own coronation, the 
new Pontiff conferred upon IppoUto the vacant bishopric ot 
Ferrara. Ten days later, to the genuine grief of all Rome, 
Pius died. 

Ercole was quite resolved, for once, to have a voice m 
the election of the new Pontiff. He dispatched a long letter 
to IppoUto — who was, by now, sufficiently recovered from 

1 Minute to IppoUto of August 29, 1503. Archivio di Modem, 
Carteggio dei Pnncipi, It wiU be remembered that the Cardinal 
Amboise of Rouen was Papal Legate in France. 

* Minute Ducali of September 24, 1503. Archivio di Modena, 
Carteggio dei Principi. 

438 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

his fall — concerning the vote he was to give in the coming 
conclave. "We make first a general presupposition," he 
writes, ** that we should not be pleased at the election of a 
Cardinal who was not an Italian ; and, therefore, your Lord- 
ship, if you wish to conform with our views, must not give 
your voice to any one who is not an Italian, excepting the 
most reverend Cardinal of Rouen, who, it cannot be denied, 
is out of the question for the causes known to your Lord- 
ship." Among the Italians, he would greatly like Naples 
(Caraffa), Santa Prassede (Pallavicino), or the Cardinal of 
Alessandria (San Giorgio) ; but Ippolito must be careful not 
to offend Amboise by his vote. He is to do what he can, in 
an underhand way, against the Cardinal of San Pietro in 
Vincoh, Giuliano della Rovere. " If Rouen should use his 
power for San Pietro in Vincoli, you can warn him that 
San Pietro in Vincoli has always been most friendly to the 
Venetians, and they have more confidence in him and would 
favour him more than any other Cardinal, and they have had 
the votes of Grimani and Comaro given him, as you know, 
and that therefore it is to be feared that, if he be made Pope, 
he will not be a good Frenchman, but rather a Venetian." 
He is, therefore^ to dissuade Amboise from this course — as also 
because Giuliano is opposed to Ercole himself m the matter 
of Cento and Pieve (which the Duke was still trjong to get 
separated from the diocese of Bologna). But " in the case 
that your Lordship should see that the lot has to fall to him, 
and that your vote could not prevent it, we should praise 
you if you could give what you could not sell, that is, if 
you should gratify him by voting for him." But he must 
first speak with the Cardinal of Rouen, and be guided by his 
wishes and intentions.* 

* Minute of October 23, 1503. Archivio di Modena, Minutario 

439 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

Ippolito, however, had but one course open to him. 1 
conclave was the shortest in the whole history of the Papa 
On the very day that it opened, October 31, Giuliano df 
Rovere was practically unanimously elected Pope, and tc 
the title of Julius II. By magnanimous promises (which, 
we shall see, he did not keep), he had bought the support 
Cesare Borgia, who commanded the votes of the Spani 
Cardinals, and the election, though less scandalously co 
ducted, was hardly less simoniacal than had been that 
GiuUano's hated enemy, Alexander VI.* Ippolito had givi 
his vote with such grace and dexterity, that all parties k 
been pleased, and his father was greatly delighted with \\ 
entire conduct in this emergency. " We could not hai 
felt greater satisfaction,'' he writes, " and we think thi 
your Lordship has this time shown the good talent ai 
dexterity that you have. We commend you, and, if o\ 
interests were not yours, and yours ours, we should thai 
you." * 

The newly created Pontiff received Ippolito's first act i 
homage with much graciousness, and declared that he ha 
always been a staunch friend to the Estensi. He professe 
special anxiety to see his godson, Don Ferrando, who ha 
indeed started from Ferrara for Rome with a few horseme 

Cronohgico. The next day, Ercole sent an "'gent mttsage, ^ 
haste, to Ippolito, bidding him by aU means go to the co ^ 
*• especiaJly as the Cardinal of Rouen urges you to this an ^^^ 
out the instructions in his former letter. Letter of October 24- 
CarUggio dei Principi, Outside, to encourage the councis, a ^^ 
is drawn, with the suggestive words sub poena furcarum, 
— cito. 

* See Pastor, iii. pp. 520-522. /-^^ 

a Letter of November 5, 1503. Archivio di Modena, 
dei Principi, 

440 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

as soon as the news of the election had reached him. The 
official Ferrarese embassy, to join with Bdtrando Costabili, 
the ordinary ambassador at the Papal Court, in presenting 
the Duke's congratulations, arrived a little later ; it included 
Gian Luca Pozzi, Antonio Costabili, and Giovanni Fran- 
cesco Maria Rangoni. 

The Venetians had taken advantage of Cesare's broken 
fortunes to occupy as many towns in Romagna as they could 
lay hands on, under the plea of liberating these places from 
the tyranny of the Borgia ; " with great offence to God," as 
the Pope put it, " and injury to us and to this Holy See." 
Fano, Faenza and Rimini surrendered to their forces in 
succession, while Cesare's agents still held Forlimpopoli and 
the citadels of Bertinoro, Forli and Cesena. The Pope 
remonstrated with the Venetian ambassador, Antonio 
Giustinian, insisting that all those places must be restored 
to the Church ; in a strongly-worded letter to the Doge, 
Leonardo Loredan, he declared that nothing could make him 
swerve from this resolution, and that no composition was 
possible.^ When Cesare refused to surrender what was left 
to him, he had him arrested and brought to Rome as a 
prisoner. Julius at first appears to have thought of handing 
him over to Ercole, to be kept at Ferrara until he had the 
citadels in his hands. But Ercole gave an evasive answer, 
said that he must first know what he would have to do if 
the Valentino did not yield up the fortresses in accordance 
with his promise — his real motive being, according to the 
Venetian ambassador, that he wished to delay his decision 
until he could hear from the King of France and be guided 

* Giustinian, Dispacci, ii. pp. 285, 288-292 ; Brief of January 10, 
1504, Archivio Vaticano, xxxix. 22, flf. 71;, 8. 

441 FF 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

by his Majesty's wishes in the matter.* Julius then i 
prisoned the fallen terror in the Borgia Tower, in the \^ 
rooms in which he had mm^dered Alfonso of Biscegl 
and only released him on the condition that the citadels 
question Should be surrendered within forty days. I 
March, all had been recovered, excepting that of Fo^ 
where the castellano— in secret understanding with teare- 
still flaunted the banner of the Borgia Bull, imperturbah 
alike to papal threats and proffered papal bribes. Tl 
Venetians and the last descendant of the former rulers i 
the place, Lodovico degU Orddaffi, were likewise treatiii 
with him, each trjdng to outbid the other in their attempi 
to purchase the citadel.' Peaceable measures being ui 
availing, Juhus demanded artillery from Ercde, an 
announced his intention of taking the rebellious fortress h 
storm. 

May saw the dose of Cesare's career in Italy. On \i 
release from Rome he had gone to Naples, which had by noi 
fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, with a safe condor 
from Gonsalvo de Cordova, the great captain. There, at th 
Pope*s instigation, he was made a prisoner. In a brief t 
Gonsalvo, dated May ii, 1504, the Pope, hearing that Cesar 
has been sending money to the castellano of Forli, whom h 
had secretly exhorted not to restore the fortress, and tha 
the latter " has begun to bombard our city of Forli with hi 
artillery, and does not cease from acclaiming the name of thi 

* Giustinian, he. ciL, ii. pp. 364, 366, 378. 

« " It is grievous to us to buy this citadel which is ours," wrot 
the Pope on March 9 to his commissaries, the Archbishop of Ra^ 
and Pietro Paolo de CaUio, " but we think that lighter than to aUofl 
it to pass into the hands of others. Wherefore, if it cannot be don< 
otherwise, you may promise him in our name 15,000 golden ducats. 
Archivio Vaticano, xxxix. 22, f. 30. 

442 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

^ke in contempt and hatred of us," urges him " so to con- 
^^^ and coerce the Duke, who has been received under thy 
protection, that he may be unable to compass anything 
^€3^st onr state and that of the Holy Roman Church," 
^^d to force him to have the citadel surrendered without 
^^y excnse or delay, " for it lies in the will and power of the 

For a. virhile the castellano proved obdurate. Ercole him- 
self noM^ interposed, urging him to yield ; but the man pro- 
fessed liimself sceptical as to Cesare's captivity, and made 
difficnlties about surrendering into Ercole's hands. Duke 
Gnidobaldo advanced with the papal troops, and at length in 
Angnst, by Ercole's intervention, backed up by an order from 
Cesare (extorted by Gonsalvo with a promise of his libera- 
tion), the citadel was surrendered to the papal authorities.' 
In spite of Gonsalvo's pledge, the Borgia was sent as a 
prisoner to Spain. Lucrezia was wild with apprehension 
for her brother's safety, fearing even for his life. " Be of 
good heart," vnrote Ercole to her, " for even as we love you 
sincerely and with every tenderness of heart as our daughter, 
so shall we never fail him, and we wish to be to him a good 
fa.tlier and good brother in everything." But he could 
only give her vague expectations, and bid her "hope 



Brief to Gonsalvo de Cordova, May 1 1 , 1 504. Archivio Vaticano 
c. 22, ff . 5 IV, 52. In part published by Pastor, iii. doc. 69. 
* In a brief to Ercole, of June 19, the Pope thanks him for what he 
is doing, and expresses his astonishment that the castellano does not 
l>elie^e his (Ercole's) assertion concerning the arrest of Cesare ; he 
ssLys that Gonsalvo will send a man to Forli to order him to 
sxtnrender,in the name of the King and Queen of Spain, and urges 
Elrcole to continue what he has begun, so that the said citadel may 
l>o irestored to the Church through him. Archivio Vaticano, xxxix. 
22, f . 100. 

443 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

in our Lord God who does not abandon whoso trusts 
Him." * 

Things had not hitherto run quite smoothly between tl 
Duke of Ferrara and the new Pontiff. The concessioi 
made to the former by Pope Alexander, on the occasion ( 
Lucrezia's marriage, were only recognized under protest b 
the Roman Curia. Ercole had still to labour to get the con 
plete cession of Cento and La Pieve, with the separation o 
these places from the diocese of Bologna, confirmed. \Vha 
on the vigil of the Feast of the Apostles, June 28, 1504-tln 
first occasion since the death of Alexander— BdtranA 
Costabili went at the hour of vespers to the Camera Ajx^to 
Uca, to present the hundred gold ducats of the tribute 2ni 
demand the receipt, he had a bad reception from the Cardinal 
Camarhngo and the other papal officials. The Fiscal Pro- 
curator said that the Duke was wont to pay 4,150 ^^^^ 
as tribute, and professed to know nothing about the reduction 
to one hundred. Costabili answered that the Duke had the 
reduction granted by a very full apostolical Bull, and showed 
the receipt for last year's tribute, which he had brought ^-ith 
him. The Auditor of the Camera, " who is a terrible man," 
wanted to see it, and then, turning to the Camarlingo, made 
some frivolous objections to its validity. Finally, howem, 
the Cardinal accepted the money under protest, " without 
prejudice of the Camera Apostolica," as the reduction had not 
been confirmed by the Pope.* JuUus had even suspected 
that Ercole was favouring Lodovico degU Ordelaffi in his 



^ Mintae Ducali of October 20 (year illegible, but presumably 
1 504). Archivio di Modena, Carieggio dei Principi- 

a Dispatches of B. Costabili to Ercole, June 28 and A^i^^t 4> 
1 504 . Archivio di Modena, Carteggio degli A mbasciaiori—Roma- 

444 



THE L\ST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

designs lipon Forll.* But the Duke's good offices in getting 
t\i.& olDstinate citadel surrendered to the papal forces, and 
t^is j>romises of artillery arid ammunition to the Duke of 
XJrbixio, completdy changed the situation, and the Pope 
expressed his warmest gratitude. "Write to his Excel- 
lence ,*' hesaidtoMonsignorBeltrando, " that we are obliged 
to him, and that, should the chance arise, we shall do the 
^aixie for him. Others, indeed, have promised to do things and 
lia-ve said words ; but his Excellence has both said and done. 
j^igh't glad are we that this occasion has arisen, to let us 
kno^w upon whom we can rely in our needs." * 

Xhe chief dramatic novelty of this year in Ferrara had been 
tlxG^ Jacob et Joseph, which had been written for the purpose 
t>y Pajiciolfo CoUenuccio. It was played in Lent, on the 
Xliursday in Passion Week and on Palm Sunday, in the 
Duomo, with unusually elaborate mountings and with a 
representation of Paradise in which the ducal choristers 
filled the parts of Angels.' This was Pandolfo's last 
achievement. The restored Giovanni Sforza (whose natural 
subject he was) regarded him as a traitor for his adherence 

1 Heaxing that Giovanni Francesco Maria Rangoni had gone to 

Forli ancl offered financial assistance to the Ordelaffi, the Pope had 

sent, a strongly-worded brief to Ercole, bidding him clear himself 

from "tlie suspicion — which, said his Holiness, everybody but himself 

entertaitieci — that he was privy to the transaction, by recalling 

Rangoni at once, and either not allow him to give the money to 

IxKiovico or, if given, make him take it back as soon as possible. 

He f ollovred it up by a furious order to Rangoni himself to leave Forli 

instantly- Briefe of March 12 and 18, 1504. Archivio Vaticano, 

xxxix- 22, ff. 3^^i 32. Lodovico died at Raveima at the end of 

M.av ; ^^ ^^^ ^ bastard brother of that Antonio Maria degU Or- 

delafiB. -wlioxn Ercole had befriended in the days of Sixtus IV. 

d x>ispatch of B. Costabili to Ercole, August 20, 1 504. Archivio di 
M.o<iena, CarUggio degli Ambasctatori—Roma, 
» Zambotto, f. 400 ; Gaspary, ii. part i. p. 205. 

* 445 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

to Cesaie Borgia. In July, he lured him to Pesaro ; and, t 
the plea that Pandolf o had slandered him in order to cun 
favour with the Borgia, in spite of the intervention of tli 
Marquis of Mantua, he had him cruelly and perfidious] 
strangled. 

Since the accession of Pope Julius, Ercole had grown di 
satisfied with the conduct of the Cardinal Ippolito. Hi 
considered that his son was neglecting his interests at tin 
Papal Court, and, in December, had written him a strongly 
worded letter of rebuke. Things grew more serious in tk 
spring, when Ippolito was at Ferrara. A messenger im 
Rome penetrated into the Cardinal's room, to deliver a 
papal brief or admonition concerning the surrendering oi 
certain benefices which the Pope had conferred upon one oi 
his favourites ; Ippolito was furious, and had the unfortu- 
nate messenger soundly beaten. The Duke ordered him 
instantly to write to Rome and apologize, under pain oi 
banishment from his duchies. The Cardinal haughtily refused, 
and, on April 9, left Ferrara and fled to Mantua. The next 
day, Ercole sent a letter after him. He had heard, he said. 
that he talked of going to Spain. If he really means this, 
" as we look more to your interests than at your conduct 
towards us," he reminds him that he must pay his respects 
to the King of France on the way ; otherwise, he will niR 
great risk of losing his archbishopric of Milan (which Ippolito 
still held in addition to the see of Ferrara), as the King will 
think himself slighted. " After that, you can go to Spain or 
wherever you like." The Cardinal is to answer by the same 
messenger, as to what he intends to do in the matter. 
In answer to this, Ercole got a letter in Ippolito's owfl 

^ Minute Ducali of April 10, 1504. Archivio di UodeD&,CartHi^ 
dei Principi. Cf. Zambotto, f. 400V. 

446 



^,. ST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 
TH^ lAST T(E,« ^ ^^ Cardinal 

„d " toa o* insolence," as ^^^ ' ,^ ^^ further 

^^^cations v^th his ^f\''J^ ZTJon oi goi»g 
o«s of tbose J ^^^ ^^^ ^l^^ritg but. not. 

*^ -^^t to the Court oi the Most Cbns^,^-^„t giv« 
f ^f^-<^« ^P ^ "^^'L^^^^r-^oniThed that irx 
^* f definite answer. 1 am greaUy j^^. 

^^'^ ^Uer your Excellence has "^^e a show o 
*^ -"^^i!ii not for my honour (w^^^ ^^^^^ ^Hereas 

'"Ltri^P^^- ^^ -^" fr^ ^a^^tion of the 
^^Ive done your best to make every ma^^ ^^ 

Z^^ y- ^ "^ ^Sll^Sr-^Perceivetheeffec^ 

^?. ,««thout passion, can see cieany ^ ,^ son. la 

"^'ft ti always been good, -^ ^yP^^^'^^fys postponed 

Jtiiing that has happened, 1 have^w ^^^^^t... 

"^"^^private advantage for your .^^Tin thus banish- 

""^ ^t>l^ bitterly of the Duke's miushcem^ 

^" W^ f^ bis State. "Although you ^^^J^^ ^am- 
'"liw^^y---^^^'^^°^''°^ri^chlugence 

^Le^u bave sought my ^^--'^^"fo" yourself, not 
"f though you were going to gam a State y ^^^^^^ ^ 
^^g ^to consideration who .t^^y^^ ^, ,„, .J^ 
*fr ^v a»d for what cause. You oo ^^ ^^ 

"^rT-- -^ -y ^"° ^'^ Touf^c^^- to treat 
every ^^^ your sue trivial 

r«e done in the fatare. it could ^ ^^ only 

-^ „, the State ; »Wch. »o«^«. ^,. ^,en. Smce 

"^ 447 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

it is your desire that I should never see you again, I w 
satisfy your wish nor offend your eyes in any way ; for yc 
have made me of such a nature that I should not desire ] 
go into the presence of Christ, unless I hoped to be wdcome 
by Him." Let his Excellence take care of his health, an 
forgive him if, in his own defence, he is compelled to teD ti 
whole truth about their quarrel, wherever he goes. " Will 
all my power, I pray you to deign to give me your blesinj 
for this my journey." * 

" In the first line of your letter," wrote the Duke in 
reply, " you say that, in spite of what you had resolved, 
you have written. Verily, it seems to us that the beginning 
of your letter corresponds with the rest, and that you vnsb 
to show us at the outset your bad will. We know not which 
would be worse, to have written to us in the way you have 
or not to have deigned to answer us.*' " We are astonished 
at these impertinent words of yours. The favour that we 
asked of you, to write to Rome, was not in the least against 
your honour. Nay, we should have believed that, not 
merely in a tiny thing like this was, but if we had uiged 
you to renounce this bishopric of Ferrara, you would have 
done it to please us, right willingly." It is not true that he 
has behaved like a good son. " Excepting the vote that 
you gave to the Holiness of the Pope, with the will of the 
most reverend Cardinal of Rouen, which was well done, you 
have never satisfied us in anything of importance. And 
if, indeed, it seemed that you began to favour our interests 
in Cento and La Pieve, you then suddenly departed tom 
Rome, without our leave, and in spite of the need of those 
affairs of ours." IppoUto has always been retrograde to 

1 Autograph letter of the Cardinal Ippolito, d^ted MaDtai, 
April 12, 1504. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio deiPfin^^P^- 

448 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

his ^wishes, although Ercole has got him the cardinalate and 

almost all the benefices that he has. " Since you have 

been disobedient and ungrateful towards us, you need not 

-wonder that we have dismissed you from our State ; because, 

l>eajring yourself towards us as you do, we do not think that 

yon axe -worthy to be near us. As to your saying that, by 

onr -treatment of you, we have given a bad example to our 

successors, and that from such a thing the ruin of the State 

could follow : we say that we are, nevertheless, content to 

lia.-ve done this, and that it should pass as an example for 

oixr sn.ccessors — for those of them, at least, who have sons that 

are not obedient." " We know not how it befits a Cardinal 

to say that you would not desire to go into the presence of 

Christ, unless you hoped to be welcomed by Him. But 

"we understand that you wish to behave towards our Lord 

God as you do towards us, and towards the others in this 

world. You do evil to take Christ's name in vain, with 

small reverence and with such haughtiness as you do." 

/^ to his threat of speaking out, let him tell the truth 

wherever he goes, and every one will judge that he is in 

the ivrong. "As to our benediction, which in the end 

you pray us to give you for this journey of yours, we tell you 

that we do not deny it you ; nay, we give it to you wiUingly, 

and we would that it had the power to make you bring forth 

good fruit. But, since virtue cannot operate well in things 

^\^SLt axe ill disposed, we know not what effect it can have upon 

y-Q^_-although we would that it were good. And we 

fear that our Lord God, since you do not reverence His 

j^3^jesty and are disobedient to your father, will give you 

some fitting chastisement, although we should be very 

sorry ior it." ^ 

1 jiifinute Ducali of April 14, 1 504. Archivio di Modesa, Carteggio dei 

449 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

But the storm soon subsided. On Sunday, April 14, 
(the very day on which Ercole was dictating this letter), 
the Marquis of Mantua arrived unexpectedly at the palace 
at the hour of Mass. He had come down the Po in a gondola 
with twelve oars, to reconcile the Cardinal with the Duke, 
in which he succeeded without difficulty. Ippolito re- 
turned to Ferrara, and the festivities for the feast of San 
Giorgio passed off with exceptional success. The horse-race 
was nm in the presence of the Duke, the Marquis and the 
Marchesana Isabella, the polio being given to the latter, 
one of whose horses had come in first, " with very great 
gladness of the people; and after dinner were redted 
comedies." ^ This was the last festivity and entertainment 
of Duke Ercole's reign. 

In this April, before their father*s reconciliation with 
IppoUto, Don Alfonso had started upon a tour, accompanied 
by Antonio Costabili and others, to make acquaintance 
with various European sovereigns. From Paris he went 
to Brussels, where he met the future Emperor Charles, and 
thence he came to England and was kindly received by oar 
Henry VII.* On his return to France, an urgent summons 
reached hun to hasten back to Italy, for that his father was 
dying. In the light of future events, the entry in Sanudo's 

Prindpi. The reader by this time wiU have had enough of Er^^s 
correspondence with his sons, but I have printed ^^^^^L^ 
from the Modena Archives in Appendix II., document ^5i^^ 
at an earlier date to Ippolito on the duties of a Cardi^^i f^^j 
of the instructive contrast that it affords with the famous aavi 
Lorenzo de* Medici to the young Cardinal Giovanni. 
* Zambotto, f . 4001;. . , jx ^jy 

« " From an English courtier, who had been informea ox i ^ 
letters of the 15th of the past month from England, I ^^^^^^ 
most illustrious Don Alfonso has been much caressed *° «_jxj^(jo 
in England by that most serene King." ^^V^^^ J?L^da^ 
Costabili of August 4, 1504. Archivio di Modena^, Cams^ 
A mbasciatori — Roma, 

450 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

Diary for June 7 reads ominously : " From Ferrara the 
neiTvs oomes that the Duke is ill ; Don Alfonso is in France 
atncl is going to England, so that a messenger has been sent 
after tiiin for him to return, because his father is in great 
danger ; and if at his death he should not be found in 
Ferrara, the second brother, Don Ferrando, who is loved 
loy tlae people, could be made Lord." Similarly, Zambotto 
tells lis that Alfonso hurried back, " thmking that he was 
in danger of not succeeding to the lordship of Ferrara, if 
his father died in his absence, although he had been already 
invested by Pope Alexander VI with the duchy and its 
dominion ; nevertheless, he hoped in the people who loved 
l^im.'* * Zambotto, it will be observed, gives no hint as to 
which of the brothers it was from whom the opposition 
should come. There was much discussion in the Papal 
Court as to the future of Ferrara. " This morning," wrote 
Antonio Giustinian to the Doge of Venice, on June 29, 
«* it was said that there were letters from Ferrara that the 
j^fyrdL Duke had had a return of his malady and was in great 
danger of his Ufe. As to what will happen in the event of 
his death, various judgments are passed, and aU conclude 
that there must be great dissensions among his sons, and 
that the absence of Don Alfonso will be greatly to his 
disadvantage, since the Cardinal, who is popular with the 
xjeople, is in Ferrara. But they all seem to be not a little 
iealons of your Celsitude, whose conduct is watched more 
than ever, since all think that you are aspiring to the 
monarchy of Italy." « 

Ippolito ruled the State while Ercole, devout to the last, 
l^ad hinoLself conveyed to Florence in a Utter drawn by 

1 Sanndo, Diarii, vi. col. 30 ; Zambotto, f . 4021;. 
* Giustinian, Dispacci, iii. p. 162. 

451 



■I 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

mules, to keep a vow that he had made to the Madonna oi 
the Aimunziata. "This morning,*' he wrote to the 
Cardinal, on July 7, " early, with the grace of our Lord God 
we have arrived here at Florence safely ; and we have been 
to the Mass at the Annunziata. To-morrow moniing we 
shall go to San Giovaimi, and then, the next morning, we 
shall start on our return home, and we shall return by the 
way that we have come. We have thought weD to give 
you notice of this, in order that you may know our progress 
in this voyage, and we add that, at present, we feel our- 
self really convalescent." So much was he recovered 
that he ultimately decided to go on from Bologna to 
Modena and Reggio, " to visit those peoples and cities of 
ours." ' 

Alfonso reached Ferrara on August 8, and found hi^ 
father had rallied. ReaUzing that the situation might 
become critical, he resolved to make friends with the 
Venetians, and, with the consent of Ercole, who remembered 
how they had secured his own accession, went to Venice. 
To Beltrando Costabili, the Pope expressed mild dis- 
pleasure at this step. It was too much submission to the 
Venetians, he said ; it would make the Venetians prouder 
than ever and more bent upon the acquisition of Ferrara. 
He had heard of the excessive homage that Alfonso had 
paid to the Signoria ; the Nuncio there had warned him 
that it was too much submission, but Alfonso had answered 
that he thought the times demanded it of him, especiaHy 
as the power of France was on the wane. " Even if the 
affairs of France are not firm," said his Holiness, "there 
is no need to fear the Venetians, so long as we are here. We 

1 Letters of July 7 and 10, 1504, from Florence andAppiaflo 
respectively. Archivio di Modena, CarUggio dei Prindpi- 

452 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

^l^all never suffer that they do him any injury."* Re- 
^^^xkable words as coming from Pope Julius, and which he 
>^^as destined in a few years completely to belie. 

'^'^^ old Duke grew worse again in September, and, 
^tKovigh he rallied temporarUy, it was clear that the end 
^^^^ xiot far off. Don Ferrando kept quiet, but a furious 
qiiaxrel arose between Alfonso and Ippolito. Their fol- 
lowers armed themselves ; there was a free fight outside 
the Cardinal's palace one day, and near Alfonso's palace 
on the next. At Rome, the Cardinal Soderini assured the 
I^ope that the Venetians were stirring up this discord 
a-rrxong the Estensian princes, in order to make themselves 
masters of Ferrara on the Duke's death, and suggested that 
Giovanni BentivogUo, being the nearest potentate, should 
interpose and make peace. "The Venetians are never 
contented," he said ; " when they have that State, they 
will want Bologna also, and then it will be our turn at 
Florence." A similar warning reached the Pope from his 
Nnncio at Venice." Julius sent briefs to Ercole promising 
him aJl the aid in his power, and to Alfonso declaring that, 
in every event, he would take hun under his protection.' 
Ercole's last cares were for the spiritual needs of his 
I>eople. In what appears to be the last of his letters that has 
l>een preserved to us, we find him writing to the Cardinal of 
Sa.n Giorgio, as the protector of the Augustinians, to have 
Frate Egidio da Viterbo of that Order sent to preach the 
coming Lent in the Duomo of Ferrara, and asking that the 

1 Dispatch from Beltrando Costabili to Ercole, September 3, 1504. 
Archivio di Modena, Carieggio degli Ambasciatori—Roma, 

« Gmstinian, Dispatches of September 13 and 20, 1504. Dispacci 
iii. pp. 229, 236. 

3 Briefs of September 18, 1504, from Ostia. Archivio Vaticano. 
-yaam. 22, f. 179. 

453 



DUKES AND POETS IN FERRARA 

friar should be commanded by a brief from the Pope, if he 
refuse. " For this good work we shall be as much obliged 
to your most reverend Lordship as for any other thing which 
at present we could receive from you, because, since that 
Frate Egidio is of the learning and sufficiency that he is. 
we cannot but hope that all those good fruits will Mm 
that are desired." * But the Duke himself was not to see 
this Lent. 

Both Venice and Rome were on the alert. On December 
7, the Venetians heard that Ercole was at the point of death, 
and that Don Alfonso had sent to tell the Visdomino, Ser 
Alvise da Mula, " that he reconunended himself to our 
Signoria and wished to be its good son." The Pope, under- 
standing the Duke's critical condition and mistrusting the 
intentions of the RepubUc, used ** strange words " (the 
recognized euphemism of the epoch for undiplomatical lan- 
guage), and talked of sending the Cardinal of Volterra 
(Soderini) to Ferrara, as legate. To this, however, Beltrando 
Costabih objected, and used all his powers of persuasion 
with different Cardinals to prevent, or at least to delay it, 
until he could hear from Alfonso.* A most amazing storj' 
was sent by Giustinian from Rome to Venice to the effect 
that the chief reason for which Julius intended to send 
a legate to Ferrara, in case of Ercole's death, was that 
the Cardinal Ippohto had promised to keep the duchy loyal 
to the Pope, if the latter helped him to become Lord of it 
instead of Alfonso, whom he represented as entirely Venetian 
in his sympathies and as having pledged himself to complete 

* Minute Ducali of November i6, 1504. Archivio di Afodena, 
Minutario Cronologico. 

« Sanudo, op. ciU, vi. coll. no, 114. Giustinian, Disp^^ °^ 
December 9, Dispacci, iii. p. 330. 

454 



XHE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

subordination to Venice. It was asserted that the Cardinal 
felt himself strong in the affection of the people and was in 
good understanding with Don Ferrando ; if the thing came 
off, he i«/^ould lay down his red hat and marry the daughter 
of his Holiness.^ This must have been the merest canard, 
for it would rather seem that IppoUto had been completely 
reconciled to his brother. Nevertheless, the proposed 
coming of the legate made Alfonso uneasy, and he bade the 
ambassador do his best to prevent it : — 

*' Messer Beltrando. We have seen and right well noted 
all that you tell us in your letters, about the decision that 
the Holiness of our Lord had taken to send hither the most 
reverend Cardinal of Volterra, in the case of- the death of 
the Lord our Father. In reply, we tell you that, in this 
case, we would have the Pope, as a demonstration of the 
love that we know he bears us, do only as much as we shall 
request from his Beatitude, and nothing beyond. Wherefore 
we wish you, if you hear at any time in the future that he 
is thinking of sending us the said most reverend Monsignor 
or another, to do your best to prevent his Holiness from 
sending any one. We do not think that he ought to send 
a legate here, unless we demand it, especially as we see no 
obvious need of one ; so, as you are on the spot and under- 
stand that this is our will, you will strive that it be done as 
we have said. Do not beUeve that we are led to this thought 
and determination in order to escape the expense which we 
should incur through the coming hither of a legate, or to 
oppose the will that our Lord has to honour and protect us, 

1 DUpatch of December 13, 1504. Dispacci, iii. p. 334. The 
daughter in question is the famous Madonna Felice della Rovere. 
The thing, adds the writer, is being kept a strict secret by the Pope, 
and will not be disclosed at all, unless there is a further change 
in the state of affairs. 

455 



DUKES AND PORTS I. 

the which we hold more dear than oi 
that infinite and important consider^i 
and if we made them known to you bj 
letters, you yourself would urge us t\ 
Ferrara, January 20, 1505. Alfonso/ 

Five days later, on January ^5, 
d' Este, the man who, in spite of maA 
had truly striven to tread in the pati 
beacon-Ught of the martyred Fra Gii 
passed away peacefully in the Castello Yi 

His last Will and Testament is stiU 
Archives of Modena.* Itisanoteworttyc/c 
ting both the mystical side of his character 
with his children. It begins : " ^vejx as < 
Christ before He suffered caDed His discipk 
founded a new Testament, in which He made i 
His heirs ; so hath He set us an examp/e, t/iai 
of Him, before we pass out of this present v^ol 
make a disposition of those things which we won 
after our death. Therefore should each one 
that, before the hour of death overtake him, he s( 
himself and his possessions that after his death J 
seen to have done all things prudently." He com. 
soul to God's mercy, his body to be buried at Sai 
degli Angeli, before the high altar of tte lamdm 
each of a number of monasteries and religious bo 
leaves one hundred Un marchesane annually in perp 
with minute instructions concerning monthly Mas 

* Minute Ducali per Rom a Beltrando CosMi. Arcia 
Modena, Carteggio degli Ambasdatori—Roma. 

* Cancelleria Ducale, Docunmti spettanti a Principi Esim 
take this opportunity of thanking Dr. GiuJio Berton/ /or £a/&f 
attention to this document. 

456 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

P^n?^t\iity for his soul, the legacies to be paid immediately 
^tter liis death and afterwards at the begimiing of each 
year : ** in order that the soul of the testator may more 
swiftly fed their suffrages, and more easily be delivered 
irom. the pains of Purgatory." Moreover, he leaves 
^^^otlxer hundred lire marchesane to the "chaplains and 
college of the chaplains of the Cathedral of Ferrara," in 
order that, in addition to the obhgation of sajang the above 
Masses, they may be bound every Saturday, in perpetuity, in 
the morning to say and celebrate a solemn Mass in honour of 
the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in the evening to sing the 
Rosary of the Blessed Virgin before the Lady-altar of the 
Cathedral.* Then follow the legacies to his sons. To 
Ippolito, he simply leaves four cardinal's rochets, con- 
sidering that he is sufficiently provided for, ** by so many 
benefices which he possesses and holds." To Ferrando, 
besides the palace near San Francesco (the present Palazzo 
Paxeschi) in which he is living, he leaves a number of pos- 
sessions in the Ferrarese and Modenese and in the district 
of Carpi, the annual income from which together amounts 
to X4,992 lire marchesane ; in addition to this, Don Alfonso 
is to give him an annual salary and provision of 3,000 lire 
marchesane^ " so long as he follows the Court, and remains 
ixk obedience and devotion to that most illustrious Don 
Alfonso." To the younger Sigismondo, besides the Palazzo 
Schifanoia in which he lives at present, with all that it con- 
-ta-ins, he leaves a nmnber of possessions and customs, more 
especially in Romagna, amounting to an aimual income 
of some 11,000 lire marchesane, and the additional 3,000 

1 The whole of these pious bequests comes to i ,200 lire marchesane 
a. year. In 1 504, the lira marchesana was a sum of money equivalent 
-^o about 10 lire of modem Italian coinage. 

457 ^^ 



DUKES AND POETS 

from Don Alfonso under the sam 
of Don Ferrando. Small legacies 
d* Este Gonzaga, who has her d( 
grandsons, Maximilian and Fn 
the dowry of their mother feeatri 
the palace in the Via degli Angeli 
possessions and customs bringinj 
4,500 lire marchesancy and an add 
provision from Don Alfonso, unc 
Ferrando. No mention is made 
voglio. Don Alfonso is made 
cessor in all the rest, and in all 
The Testament is drawn up by 
notary Lodovico Bonamelli, in the 
da Siena, on July i, 1504, and 
Giovanni da Tabia, prior of the 
Santa Maria degli Angeli of the 
fessor of the Lord testator," Fra 
five other friars of the Angeli, Don 
"called and specially requested 
mouth of the most illustrious Lo 
aforesaid." 

It is not too much to say that, ( 
in the epoch of the Borgia, Ercole 
thetic, almost the only not ignobli 
rest upon his reputation : his cru 
towards his nephew, Niccold di 
Italy in abetting the disastrous p 
which brought the French invade: 
first, in any other of the conten 
be excused on the plea of the poh 
but not so in the case of Ercole, wh 

458 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

of morals and undoubtedly hdd higher ideals. In palliation 
of the second might be urged the lack of genuine national 
sentiment among the Italians of the early Renaissance; 
but, at the best, it was treason, and as treason all the 
more enlightened spirits even of that age stigmatized it. 
Ercole's religious fervour was intense and genuine ; to the 
best of his abilities, he strove to follow where the light of 
tlie truth seemed to shine. Want of moral courage and a 
certain spirit of time-serving kept him back from the heights. 
He loved his people, and was, on the whole, a good lord to 
his subjects ; the faults of his administration were many 
and grievous, but they were due more to the general con- 
dition of the times, and to the low and sordid conception 
then prevalent as to the art of government and the duties 
of a. sovereign, than to any lack of noble qualities of heart 
BXid mind. 

Ercole must be regarded as the maker of modem Ferrara. 

** The Duke desires nothing else," writes a discontented 

contemporary and subject, "save every day to decorate 

and magnify this his city of Ferrara with new edifices and 

palaces.*' * He was much concerned in draining and 

fertilising the country, and undertook considerable public 

works in this direction in i486 and subsequent years. In 

the adorning and embellishing of the capital, Pietro di 

Benvenuto — ^who had, it will be remembered, finished the 

Schiianoia for Borso— appears to have been the principal 

architect employed in the earlier part of his reign ; it was 

he who adapted the Castello Vecchio for a ducal residence, 

a.tid to him is due the marble stairway, still standing, of 

the Corte Vecchia. After his death in 1483, the Duke 



1 Document quoted by Frizzi, iv. p. i43. 
459 



DUKES AND POETS 

chiefly relied upon the services 
and of Biagio Rossetti. Under 
1492, Ercole began the great wc 
magnificent aspect that it still retj 
the enlargement of the city and 
a new district on the northern sic 
Erculea or Terra Nova. Ferrara 
The smaller Barco, Belfiore, the 
degU Angeh were included in the 
Herculean ramparts along which 
to wander hour by hour. Broj 
down, such as the Corso di Porta 
the Corso di Porta Mare, that seem 
Strada del Boigo Leone. The St 
fresh importance, while the trer 
city-walls became the Strada dell 
few animated streets of the modei 
quarter magnificent palaces begj 
and courtiers threw themselve 
scheme. Sigismondo d' Este, the 
Palazzo de' Diamanti begun by 
to be finished later by Girolan 
Borgognoni, upon the fagade of \^ 
still recall the Herculean badge ; w 
the chief physician of the Courl 
palace reared by its side, the 

1 Cf. Frizzi, iv. pp. 165-168, and es] 
in Solerti, Ferrara e la Carte Estei 
describes the b^inning of the new Vi 
" and the Venetians, hearing this, sc 
why he was making those excavations 
he wanted to enlarge Ferrara." Cf. 
ai 5UO mantello aggiunge panno. 

460 



"THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

All 

^^ ^^^ landowners of the duchy were compeUed to send 

^ ^tadi^i to labour on the walls and the laying out of the 

^ ^^ district ; a special tax was levied upon all the Ferrarese 

^^rritory ; the salaries of the servants of the Court and the 

^ spends of the professors of the Studio were reduced, to 

^^ ftinds.* The buildmg of this Herculean quarter was 

<^ottipleted about the year 1501. In the centre of his 

^reatioxi the Duke desired to raise an equestrian statue of 

^^^^^^^^If . and he attempted to obtain from Milan, which 

had by then fallen into the hands of the French, the model 

which l^onardo da Vinci had made in 1493 for the monu- 

^^ent of Francesco Sforza. In this he was unsuccessful.* 

The work was never executed, and, upon the colunm which 

the Duke had prepared for himself, stands now— not 

unfittingly — the statue of the great poet who was to be 

the supreme glory of Ferrara. 

Many of the works that Rossetti carried out for his ducal 
patron have perished. But there still stands San Francesco, 
the most noteworthy ecclesiastical building of the early 

* Frizzi, iv. p. 166. 

a On September 19, 1501, Ercole wrote to Giovanni Valla, his 

aLml>aasador in Milan, that the master who was to have made 

tlie model of the horse to be cast in metal to be put up in the piazza 

of X«rra Nona had died, and no one here could finish it. Remembering 

-that in Milan there is the model made of a horse that the Ix)rd 

Xxxiovico bad In mind to have cast, " which model was made by a 

py£33ter Leonardo, who is a good master in things of this kind," as it 

is not being used and is getting more spoilt every day by neglect, 

Ixe l>ids him ask the Cardinal of Rouen for it. On September 24, 

V^alla answered that the Cardinal would be delighted to let the 

X:>i*lte have it ; but that, since the King has seen it, he cannot give 

it ^thout a word to his Majesty. Valla advises the Duke to instruct 

-p3jrtolommeo de' Cavallieri to speak to the King about it. G. 

C^tnVon,Nuovidocufnenti per la vita di Leonardo da Vinci (Modena, 

x»65)» PP- 6, 7. 

4b 1 



DUKES AND POETS 

Renaissance in Ferrara, with its 
which he began in 1494 ; the c 
Vado, one of the oldest and nn 
the duchy with its chapel of t 
rebuilt by him a little later (frc 
Grandi), but has been entirely rea 
campanile of San Giorgio is his. 
choir of the Duomo, also, is Roi 
the most beautiful private pala 
and now abandoned to squalid p< 
bill — ^now more usually called th 
which Lodovico il Moro once hope 
in the approaching ruin of his 
reared for Ercole the princely 
cesco, completed the Certosa, I 
Benedetto. There was, indeed, h 
in the city that the Duke did nc 
The decoration of these new bi 
former princes had reared, the 
portraits of members of the reign 
marriages and betrothals, the s 
ducal theatre, aiforded occupati 
artists and craftsmen, great and i 
of Ercole's reign, the prince of 
Cosimo Tura, as in the da}^ of I 
marriage, Ercole commissioned 1 
himself and (amazing example 0: 
of that age in these matters) 
Lucrezia, to send as presents to 1 
likewise designed the nuptial bee 

* A. Venturi, VAtte Ferrarese net p 

462 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

-with its canopy and coverings, and a wonderful silver side- 
board. He painted a Madonna for the Duke's private 
sLpsLTtment in 1475. A few years later, he decorated his 
study with seven paneb representing naked women, figure 
tttule di femmincy probably intended for the three theological 
and four cardinal virtues.* He painted the Uttle Alfonso's 
portrait to send to the Duchess Bona in 1477, and, later on, 
those of the princesses, Lucrezia, Isabella and Beatrice, to be 
sent to their future husbands. He died in 1495. It is 
doubtful if a single work that Tura painted for Ercole 
has survived, and if there still exist any authentic portraits 
(save those executed for Borso in the Schifanoia) from his 
hand. The same apphes to Baldassare d' Este, who lived 
through the greater part of Ercole's reign ; all that he pro- 
duced during this epoch has perished, with the doubtful 
exception of one medal. 

To Cosimo Tura as chief Court painter succeeded his 
pupil, Ercole de' Roberti, a member of that noble Reggiaix 
family that had given a mistress to the Marchese Niccold III 
and a mother to Rinaldo and Bianca Maria. Bom somo 
time after 1450, his earlier work appears to have been dono 
at Bologna, and it is to this epoch that his most importaixt 
extant picture belongs : the Madonna with Pietro degli 
Onesti, painted for a church at Ravenna and now in thxo 
Brera at Milan. He took Cosimo Tura's place at Ferrarat 
in 1487. A Uttle later he visited Venice, and learned t:o 
temper the harsh style of his master with the softer influ^ 
ence of the young Giambellino. He was the leading artist 
in the festivities for the marriage of Isabella d' Este, painting 
the chests that were to convey her belongmgs to Mantua, 



^ Venturi, op. cii., ii. pp. 362, 363. 
463 



DUKES AND POETS IN F 

designing and directing the constructio; 
and of the triumphal chariot upon wl 
husband's city. We have seen him 
to Rome on the accession of Alexanc 
of Roberti's death in 1496, he was engaj 
the Duke for Isabella, which was sent x 
Very few of his works have been preser 
Gallery possesses a most beautiful exai 
in the " Gathering of Manna in th 
Dudley collection. 

Lorenzo Costa, the connecting li 
and Bologna in painting, although s 
was but Uttle employed by Duke E 
wotdd have thought, such works as 
pieces with which he filled the churcl 
have strongly appealed. What wo 
student of Ferrara give for some pi 
Herculean circle, analogous to that ] 
with which G>sta adorned the stud 
Isabella and which is now one of 
Louvre ? The most important work 
or follower, Ercole di Giulio Cesare ' 
in the frescoed ceilings of the Palaz; 
not belong to Ercole's reign. Wit 
Mazzolino begins a new generation 
which lies outside the scope of th 
already, though no extant picture < 
to a date earlier than some five yeaj 
the one great master of Ferrarese pa 
known as Dosso Dossi, had been bo 

Not a trace of the Duke's favouri 
vent of Santa Caterina da Siena, r 

464 




^ 



'4 



^ 
^^' 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

we can still trace its site on the northern side of the Via 
Aria Nuova,the road that once bore the name of St. Catherine. 
It is uncertain who was the architect whom Ercole employed 
to give the design of the church and convent ; but we have 
many records of the pictures that adorned it. They 
ahnost all referred to the Ufe of the Seraphic Virgin of Siena. 
The decoration was carried out mainly in the years 1503 
and 1504, by Antonio Aleotti, Geminiano di Bongiovanni 
and Ettore de' Bonacossi, painters of small importance 
whose works have perished, but of whom the last named 
is interesting, as he appears to have belonged to the family 
of Savonarola's mother. Outside the convent was a 
fresco of St. Catherine receiving the Stigmata, and another 
of her holding a Crucifix ; various scenes from her Ufe, in one 
of which she was represented as kissing the feet of her 
Divine Spouse, were represented in tondi in the cortile. In 
Lucia's private loggietta were the " Agony in the Garden,** 
the " Madonna inspuing St. Bernard," " St. Jerome in. 
the Desert," while, in another part of the convent, ther^ 
was a large fresco of St. Catherine taking a number of nuns 
under her mantle.* We have also records, in the accoun-t 
of the ducal expenses, of pictures (no longer extant) specially 
painted as presents from Ercole to Lucia in 1502 ; a head of 
St. John the Baptist, by Francesco de' Maineri of Parma ; 
an altar-piece, by a certain Niccolo of Pisa, representing 
St. Catherine of Siena with other saints, worshipped by 
the Duke himself and others of her clients of the time.* 
There are few of the many lost Ferrarese pictures that the 
lover of Ercole could not have spared rather than that. 

1 A. Venturi, op. cit.^ ii. (2) pp. 373-375 ; Gandini, Lucrezia 
Borgia, pp. 7, 8. 
^ A. Venturi, op. cit., ii. (2) pp. 385 note i, 394. 

465 



DUKES AND I 

The death of Ercole invo 
There had already been di* 
of the new comers had left, 
it is even said that one of t 
her. Her absolute power in 
Duke showed her, certain r 
of the black veil, all combij 
disliked. No sooner was the 
and malice of these women bl^ 
of artificially renewing the wo 
had healed or, at least, become 
that Pope Alexander had grai 
she was deprived of all authoj 
convent, even of the consolatic 
fessor. She was then not twenty 
age of sixty-eight— that is, for ne 
nims kept her a close prisoner it 
her in every possible way, treatin 
criminal. But she bore it all h 
and patience, comforted still by 
with St. Catherine. She died on i 
soled with celestial visions and 
" Having obtained from the Lord 
some souls from the pains of Pm^gat 
biographer, " before she received tb( 
of the Eucharist, she asked for the 
of Duke Ercole her benefactor, oi om 
a brother, the state of whose souls sh( 
special revelation." ^ When dead, the 

* Giacomo Marcianese, Narraiione, pp. 
recent biographers pass over the alleged a 
of Lucia, nor have we any record as to whicl 

466 



THE LAST YEARS OF DUKE ERCOLE 

revvilsion of feeling, acclaimed her as a saint, and to this day 
ter IxKiy, st:range relic of a stranger time, is venerated in 
ihe Ca.t:lieciraLl of the city that had seen her its sovereign's 
Egeria. a.xicl afterwards a despised captive. 

^^ it. A. oex-taln Suora Maria of Parma was made superior, and the 
ma.jori"ty of -tlie nuns renewed their vows to her. 



467 



Chapti 

THE POETS OF THE 

THE one supreme poet in 
Ercole's reign is Mattec 
we have akeady considered i 
Tito Vespasiano di Messer Nam 
the poets who sang in the Lati 
even more prominent figure in \ 
capital. Messer Tito lived in 
giving lavish entertainments to 
sovereign's efforts in the restorat 
hospitality to foreign potentates 
that of the princes of the House of 1 
splendid and magnificent," writes 
Lorenzo di Fihppo Stwzzi, "in h 
tions in his house, with royal mou 
the presence of the Lord Duke am 
rara." * Unfortunately, he played 
the administration of the city. Ha 
the Duke as commissary in Romagm 
posts, he was made Judge of the Tweli 
1497, and entered into oflfice " with vi 
perhaps, greater than any other had ev 
Strozzi wotdd have us believe that the 

^ Vile degli wmini illustri Ma Casa 5 
a Diario Ferrarese, col. 34;. 

468 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

to this office "more for his own advantage than for the 

benefit of the said Messer Tito," and that " he administered 

tlie p-ablic affairs with the good will of the people and to the 

profit of his sovereign." But his Ferrarese contemporaries 

tell us a very different story. Probably, like many other 

Ferraxese magnates, he used his official position as a means 

of amassing wealth, especially in his old age, when his 

poetical work was practically done, " Messer Tito and his 

sons," writes the Diarist in March, 1500, " are universally 

detested by every person for their devouring of the people 

and for their cruel oppression " ; and again, a little later : 

" Messer Tito Strozza is hated by the people worse than 

the Devil is." * 

By his wife, Domitilla de' Rangoni of Modena, Tito had 
three sons : Ercole, Guide and the younger Lorenzo. Ercole 
— who, like his father, latinised their surname from Strozzi 
to Strozza (on the same principle as Petrarca calling himself ^y 
Francesco Petrarca instead of Francesco di Petracco) — 
succeeded him as the chief Latin poet of the Court. Lame 
from his birth, always over-dressed and perfumed, this 
scholarly dandy at one time thought of entering the Church. 
When Lucrezia Borgia came to Ferrara, he attached him- 
self to her service, partly because he hoped to gain a 
Cardinal's hat through her influence with her father. Pope 
Alexander.* For the rest, he strove to follow in his father's 
footsteps, with scantier means at his disposal but no less 
hated by the people. Of his vernacular poetry, the one 
great passion that inspired it and, perhaps, led him to 
his death, something will be said in the next chapter. A 
selection of the Latin lyrics of father and son wats collected 

1 Diario Ferrarese, coll. 382,401. 
* Lorenzo Strozzi, op. ciL, p. 77- 
469 



DUKHS AND 

and published together 
the latter's tragic end, I 

Coupled by Ariosto \ 
chief singer of Lucrezia' 
Antonio Tebaldi, who si 
Tebaldeo. He was bom i 
time instructed Isabella d' 
her marriage, he left Ferra 
Bentivoglio at Bologna, 
adulatory poetry on the t 
in 1496 invited him to Man 
much favour. Thence he • 
1499, entering first the servi 
afterwards that of Lucrezia 
morals and great personal be 
he wandered back to Mantua 
for libelling a rival poet and i 
Court of Leo X. He lived I 
Raphael and to lose all he had 
theless, almost all his poetry 1 
and was written before the end 

This poetical work of Teba] 
a nimiber of epistles, capitoli 
They are partly amorous, pai 

* Orlando Furioso, xlii. S$. 

' For Tebaldeo, see especially Lu: 
Eelaxioni Lettetarie di Isabella d*EsU 
V. Rossi, // QuaitfocentOf pp. 206, 2 
312-314. My quotations are iron 
printed at Modena, 1500. The first & 
his consent) by the poet's cousin 
with a dedication to the Marchesana Is 
loc. cit., p. 204). 

470 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

are especially remarkable for their exaggeration of the 
traditional conceits of the Petrarchists, whose imagery 
is materialised often to an absurd degree. The lover's tears 
become a torrent and cause the floods of the Po ; Love 
riddles tdm with his darts, until he can use him as his quiver ; 
he needs no mask in carnival time, because his amorous 
troubles have made him such a walking death that only 
Love and his lady, Flavia, can recognize him. Flavia's 
house catches fire, but her beauty inflames the firemen so 
that they must use the water for themselves. When she 
slips on the ice on her way to church, an analogous ex- 
planation is forthcoming : — 

Che non po invidia ? invidia dispersa erra, 
Hor questo cor et hor queUo altro speza, 
N6 sol intrar ne gli animanti ^ aveza, 
Ma in le cose insensate anchor si serra. 
Sendo la neve qua discesa in terra, 
E vedendose vincer di biancheza 
Da Madonna; disd^pio, ira e tristeza 
Aghiazossi per farli ingiuria e guerra ; 
E vedendola un giomo andare al tempio, 
Cader la fe : si che gli mosse un braccio ; 
Ma forsi il del dar vnole a I'altre exempio, 
Che se Madonna ardea si come io faccio 
Gionta mai non serebbe a tal caso empio, 
Chd, a chi ama, sotto i pid se stnigg e il ghiaccio> 

I «« What cannot envy do ? Envy wanders everywhere, breaks 
now this heart and now that other ; nor only into living beings 
is it wont to enter, but even incloses itself in senseless things. 

*• The snow, having descended here on earth and seeing itself 
surpassed by my lady in whiteness, froze with disdain, anger and 
sorrow, to injure and make war upon her. 

•' And seeing her one day going to church, it made her fall, so 
that she sprained her arm ; but, perchance. Heaven wished to give an 
example to the others ; 

" For if my lady burned as I do, she would never have come to 
so cruel a plight, for ice is melted beneath the feet of those that 
love." (Sonnet loi.) 

47T 



DUKES AND 
But at times he can 

Simplice aventui 
Che il di ti sti 
Poi quando V 
Tomi a posar 

Lasso, che spersi 
Senza quiete a 
Vassene la mi< 
Come dal mar 

Tu sol temi del 
Per te sta vigii 
Che fa r insidi 

£t io temo del o 
Contra ho fort 
Nd r arme ale 

Those of his soimets i 
subjects, though somewl 
undoubted interest for th 
dealing with the French 
about the cruelties of th( 
had led to their downfall, 
and her manifest decline : 
may be taken as reflecting 
Francesco and the House 
the following sonnet strike: 

* " Simple, fortunate shepl 
the flock without care, and th 
thou retumest to rest in thy 

'* Alas, broken up between 
in the day or in the dark nigl 
a ship that is tossed by the s 

" Thou fearest only the wo 
thee against such war, and m^ 

" And I fear Heaven and ea 
the human race ; nor does ai 
(Sonnet 67.) 



T^He 



POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 



^e i toi campi non pose il pid si presto 

Hannibal che combatter li convienne^ 

Nd mai si afflicta il Barbaro ti tenne 

Che al diffender non fnsse il tuo cor desto. 
^t her, Italia, onde precede questo, - 

Che un piccol Gallo che V altr* ier qui venne J, 

Per ogni nido tuo batte le penne, (;* 

Senza mai ritrovarse alcuno infesto ? |j^ 

Ma iusto esser mi par che '1 del te abassi, jj 

Che -pitL non fai Camilli o Sdpioni, N. 

Ma sol Sardanapalli e Midi e Crassi. i;- 

Oi4 una occha tua (se guardi a i tempi buoni) |t; 

Scacdar lo puote de i Tarpei sassi ; 

Hor aquile non pon^ serpi e leoni.^ Ji 

Another sonnet, condoling with the Marquis for the death [.I 

•■^odolfo Gonzaga at Fomovo, opens finely : — 

Lassa i suspir : chd non convien tal atto 
A Chi ha de V arme Italice il govemo ; * 

but hardly keeps up the strain. He has a whole series about 

a bnst or statue of Beatrice d*Este Sforza by a certain Leone, i 

and a single sonnet, by no means without charm in spite of 

its quaint conceits, on the death of Don Alfonso's first wife, 

Anna Sforza d'Este :— 

1 " No sooner did Hannibal set foot in thy fields, than he had j 

-to give battle ; nor ever did the Barbarian keep thee so afflicted, 
l>at; that thy heart was ready for defence. 

•• And, no^, Italy, whence proceeds this, that a little Cock, that j 

came here but yesterday, beats his wings over every nest of thine, , 

^without ever meeting a single foe ? 

*' But it seems to me just that Heaven cast thee down, for thou 
maltest no more Camilli or Scipios,but only such as Sardanapalus 
SLTid Midas and Crassus. 

«• Of old a goose of thine (if thou lookest back to the good times) 
^^ovild drive him away from the Tarpeian rock ; now eagles can- 
Tiot, nor serpents and lions." (Sonnet 220.) 

a •* Leave thy sighs ; for such things befit not him who hath the 
Y^le of the armies of Italy." (Sonnet 231.) 

47a HM 



DUKES AND : 

Visto Morte dal Mc 
A CarlOy che s< 
De che V emp 
Disse : Impunit 

N6 in polve il scriss 
£ cum r axco 
Anna (fior de' 5 
N6 mai sotterra 

Chd non sendo del ' 
Morte, quanto c 
Tanto si fe in I 

Lassare Italia a' Ga 
Potea un di lib< 
Far una altra o 

Decidedly noteworthy ii 
analogous poems that Teb 
his lyrics, they are partly ar 
of the House of Gonzaga. 
of Italy, the corruption of 
ing peril to Christendom fr 
Negroponte. It ends in a 
He is the inheritor of Here 
name " ; " Italy under thy 
liberate the world from th 
Herculean labour, and one i 

* ** When Death saw that the A 
who was arming himself agair 
pected much prey), she said : 1 1 

" She wrote it not in dust bu 
her bow to the city of Ercole, si 
the Sforzas ; nor ever under es 

" For Death, not being quite 
cruel and relentless in the strife 

" To leave Italy to the Gauls 
free herself ; but Nature never 
like this." (Sonnet 254.) 

* Capitolo iv. Per dar ripos 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

Fine too is another, in the form of a letter from the dead 
Rodolfo Gonzaga to the Marchese Gian Francesco ; the slain 
hero describes his reception in Hades by the spirits of his 
brother Federigo and his father Lodovico (father and grand- 
father, respectively, of the man that he is addressing) ; he 
urges on his nephew to tread in the paths of Scipio ; let him 
not mourn for his death, but take care of the little child that 
he has left.^ Less effective is a similar piece, written in the 
name of Gian Francesco himself and describing his exploits at 
Fomovo, denying that he had entertained any negotiations 
with the French King.* These poems have value as historical 
documents, even apart from thefr literary merits, which are 
appreciable. 

In curious contrast to the courtier Tebaldeo, is another 
poet, whose poems are practically contemporaneous with his 
and deal in part with the same cycle of events : Antonio 
CammeUi, called " II Pistoia," from the Tuscan city where 
he was bom in 1440. It is not known why or when Cam- 
meUi came to Ferrara ; but, from 1487 to 1497, he filled the 
post of captain of the Porta di Santa Croce at Reggio. A 
Uttle later he was given the same ofl&ce again, at the inter- 
cession of the Marchesana Isabella ; but he seems to have lost 
it once more, and from 1500 imtil his death, in 1502, he 
wandered about in poverty from Court to Court. 

In the Lent of 1499, a tragedy by CammeUi was played 

structed Beltrando Costabil to exhort Pope Alexander to take more 
effectual measures against the Turks and excite the other Povrers 

to do the like. " COnsiH«>rincr +>ia trrt^ai- Hanorer in whirK 4-u^ /^V,r4stian 



effectual measures against the Turks and excite the other Povrers 
i do the like, " considering the great danger in which the Christian 
eligion is placed." Archivio di Modena, Minutario Qronolog^^o* 

February 24, 1502. 



* Capitolo xii. Se pot che I 'alma gid disciolta e scarca. 

* Capitolo xiii. Chi disse esser felice chi non nasce. 

475 



DUKES AND 

before the Court of Ferrar 

ment is spoken by a m 

himself as the ghost of S 

moral philosopher, whose 

normal time, sent by Pk 

case of two lovers descri 

matter of fact, the play h 

is taken directly, with ch; 

the first novella of the f ( 

story of the cruelty used 

and her lover Guiscardo. 

King Demetrius of Thehi 

of his daughter Pamfila, ai 

upon which she dies. T 

species of pander, upon w 

the vices of Courts. The 

of some importance as bei 

tragedies. It is divided 

ludes. The dialogue is in / 

ally that between the Choi 

are written in lyrical meas 

Cammelli*s chief poetica 

nary collection of caudate 

part of a satirical nature. 

he represents a friend as 

you make sonnets. Are 

even saw a hen on the roac 

other ! *' * In these vivid li 

* Tragedia de Antonio da Pis, 
de Ferrara, Venice, 1508. Cf. 
Tragedia di Antonio Cammelli. 

* Sonnet 35. I refer throu^ 
/ Sonetti del Pistoia giusta I'af 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

and the conditions of the times, jests at his poverty and 
liviiniliation, satirises the Duke's officers and ministers. 
Nor does he rest there. The whole society of Italy, high 
and low, during the last decade of the Quattrocento and the 
beginning of the following century, passes before our eyes ; 
we see the simoniacal election of Alexander VI ; follow the 
nse and fall of Lodovico il Moro ; and mark the devout, 
pacific bearing of Ercole, the difficulties and dangers of the 
minor potentates and powers. "With them," writes 
Professor Renier, " we can foUow all the political vicissi- 
tudes of the last years of the fifteenth century, seen with the 
eyes of a courtier poet, enthusiastic for the Moro as long as 
he was potent, but not refraining from assailing him (as 
usually happens) after his ruinous fall." * Or, if we prefer, 
we can watch the ladies of the epoch at their toUet, and 
study the rival claims to supremacy in beauty of the 
women of all the chief cities of Italy.' 

Nowhere, in the poetry of those daj^, do we find a nobler 
note than that struck by II Pistoia in his sonnet on the 
shameful victory of Fornovo :— 

Pass6 il Re franco, Italia, a tuo dispetto, 
Cosa che non fe mai 1 popul romano, 
Col legno in resta e con la spada in mano. 
Con nemici a le spalle e innanti al petto. 

^esare e Scipion, di eui ho letto, 

I nemici domor di mano in mano ; 

1 Of. at., p. xxxi 

a The Florentines (says the poet) appear beautiful, but in reality 
are terribly painted and made up ; the women of Siena are perfectly 
tieavenly, and the Sienese men are utterly unworthy of them ; there 
are still some beautiful ladies among the Ferrarese, but not like 
wbat they were before the Venetian invasion, " when we saw the 
Slavonians bridge the Po " ; the Milanese are too fat and over- 
dressed, and behave at table like Germans. Sonnets i6, 17, 18, 19- 

477 



DUKES AND 

E costui^ com< 
Mordendo quei 

Matre vituperata d 
Se Cesare acqt 
Insubri, Galli, 

Concubina di Mida 
Ch' hai dato a 
Discordia con 
Chd con p 
In sul transirti 
Tutti i tuoi fig 

Sia come 
S« ben del mo 
Mai non si estj 

No less eloquent is the 
Pope Alexander and his ] 

Ruina de' Cristian, 
Per simonia coi 
Da cui 6 fatto 
Con omicidi, st 

Al primo successor I 

Sol per pescar i 

E tu, d* Qgn' o: 

, Tien* de la fade 

Cosi mal vanno le c 
In man d'un si 

1 " The French King has 
that the Roman people never 
in hand, with foes at his bac! 

" Caesar and Scipio, of who 
hand to hand ; and he, like 
and that, has passed clear a\ 

'* Mother disgraced by the I 
conquest of Insubrians, Gauls 

** Concubine of Midas, foe t 
the hands of Venus, discord a 

" For, with little labour, as 
all thy children became hens 
thou didst acquire the empire 
grace be wiped out." (Sonne 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

B* ogn' or guidare a le sue concubine. 
Tutto quel che tu fai iustizia elegge ; 

II ciel pien d' ira ha in sen le tue mine 
Perchd il ciel sempre un mal vivo non regge. 

Crudde a la tua legge ! 
Nova pena per te la terra ordisce * 

Se il gallo a F angue mai per te se unisce. 

Scacciaranno le bisce 
II famelico verme iniquo e tristo, 
Che divora la Croce e Jesu Cristo.* 

\^rhile the throng listened to the words of Fra Girolamo, 

II Pistoia had scoffed. Thus, just after Fomovo : — 

Ogni predicator si fa indovino : 
Hanne Firenze un si speculativo, 
Che molti Fiorentin non bevon vino.* 

And again, when Maximilian — " il noyo Costantino " — is at 
Pisa, he is more emphatically contemptuous : — 
Al suon d' una campana 

II popul fiorentin va tutto in macchia, 

Credulo al gamilar d' una comacchia. 

* " Ruin of Christians, thou, false priest, with simony hast bought 
the divine cult ; by thee has the holy temple become perverted with 
fxiurder, rapine and money. 

•• For the first successor sufficed the net only, to fish for a faithful 
tbxong to God ; and thou every hour with some new outrage 
boldest the secret keys of the Faith. 

•• Thus ill go things divine in the hand of a simoniac, who con- 
tinually lets his concubines guide the flock. 

** Justice chooses all that thou dost ; Heaven full of wrath hath 
thy ruin in store, because it will not suffer an evil liver for ever. 

** Cruel to thy law I The earth is preparing a new penalty for 
thee^ if the Cock ever through thee unites with the Snake. The 
Vipers will hunt out the ravening worm, wicked and fell, that is 
devoiiring the Cross and Jesus Christ." (Sonnet 369. In all these 
sonnets, there is the obvious play upon gallo, "cock" or** Gaul." 
The Snake and Vipers are the Sfbrza.) 

a •• Every preacher becomes a diviner. Florence has one of them 
so speculative, that many Florentines drink no wine." (Sonnet 326.) 

479 



I 
i 



DUKES AND POE 

O Dio che nova ma 
Chd per simplicity son < 
£ vendevon I'astuzia a 

But, after the Friar's fall and 

with reverence : — 

Pover Marzocco, come t 
* * * 

II irate che a Cristo en 
Ucciso hai per paura d'l 

Most successful of all Can 
those m the form of dialogue 
dispute between the Cardinal, 
the latter tries to force his ^ 
reverend and illustrious Lords 
and naturally does not find h 
finer is the scene between the i 
and the demon Farfarello, coi 
claim his prey at the gates oi 

Toe I — Chi batte ? — Amici, 

— Come ti chiami ? — Da 

— Ah ah 1 io el so, il tu( 

Su su a la forca, a la 

Per te non fu fondato q 

FiH giii te aspetta un 

— Lasciami venir qui « 

— No no, altro ti vuol 

— Bu bu — Chi abbaia ?— 

— Chi sei tu che mi el 

^ " At the sound of a bell the peo] 
credulous in the chattering of a c 
By their simplicity are they almosi 
sell cunning to all the world." (S 

* " Poor Marzocco, how is thy 1 
broker with Christ, hast thou slain 

364.) 

• Sonnet 144. 

4> 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 



— Che cosa vuoi da me ? — Questo latrone, 
Che al del per crudeltd si fe rubello ; 

lo ti dico da parte di Plutone 
Che gli d per carta suo : ecco libello. 

— lo non voglio esser quello 
Che a nissnn patto 1' altrui preda toglia ; 
Piglialo, menal via, fa la tua voglia. 

— Civati f6r la spoglia, 
Cammina, traditor, che ogni martire 
Sard poca vivanda al tuo fallire.^ 

Every phase in the complicated struggles and intrigues 
from the battle of Foraovo to the downfall of the Moro finds 
echo in Cammelli's later sonnets. . In one of the latest, 
Italia, U Turco men, he exhorts the princes and potentates 
of Italy to lay aside their private quarrels and hatreds, to 
unite against the conunon foe : — 

A te serit vergogna, 
Re franco, a mover contra Italia piede, 
Chd a te s' aspetta mantenir la fede. 



^**Tocl P. Who knocks? Z. Friends, just open to me. P. What 
is tliy name ? Z. Gr^orio of Lucca. P. Ah, ah ! I know it, 
thy name is notorious ; hence to the gallows, to the axe, to the fire. 
This place was not made for thee ; another consistory awaits thee 
lower down. Z. Let me come hither with thy aid. P. No, no, 
elsewhere the cook will make it hot for thee. 

"Bote, mow/ P. Whois barking? F. Peter, do me justice. P. Who 
art thou that callest me ? F. FarfareUo. P. What wantest thou 
from me ? p. This great robber, who by his cruelty hath rebcUed 
against Heaven. I teU thee, in the name of Pluto, that he is his by 
script; here is the book. 

'• P. I would not be the man to take away another's prey on any 
account. Seize him, take him away, do thy wiU! F. Come out of 
that and march, traitor; for every torment will be little recompense 
for thy wickedness." (Sonnet 84.) 

Sonnets 83, 85, 86 are upon the same subject. An anonjrmous 
sonnet and ballata on the death of 2Sampante are in the T>iario 
Ferrarese, col. 332. Cf. above, p. 326. 

481 



^i 






mv 



DUKES 

JE s 
XJn <ii £ 
E d' Ita 

And in the French 
Sforza, he discerns 
dence of Italy : — 

Tu sei pr 
Tu sei ca* 
£ elii que 

In the last sonnet 
Italy, "dismembered 
down and body genuf 
in her history which I 

Ma perchd 
Ne aspettar 
Nella qua] i 
E forse, 
Prima che g 
II nostro Inn 

Although but sparin 
CanimeUi had a fervent 
On June 13, 1502, a few 
she wrote to Niccolo d 

* " Shame will it be to th 
Italy, for we look to thee to 1 
taken, one day this savage be 
France." (Sonnet 373.) 

* " Thou art a prisoner, an 
fallen and Italy is fallen; anc 
(Sonnet sS6,) 

" But since one season dc 
another, bad or good, in whic 
perchance, for our iJl luck, befc 
our light will be without any oil. 
faito adesso de Italia.) 



r^', 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

lived, he offered and promised many times to put together V 

iti one ivork all the things composed by him, and to entitle 
them to us ; but, since time has failed him, he has not -^ 

been able to accomplish this. We understand that your f 

Lordship has been at pains to collect them and make a codex '; 

of them, v^hich pleases us much, and we praise you for this 
most pious deed. But we remind you that you must not 
deprive us of that right which we have in them by the disposi- 
tion and bequest of the poet." Needless to say, the Count 
promptly reassured his illustrious correspondent : " I reply 
to your Ladyship," he wrote, " that not only do I desire 
that you should have these things of the Pistoia, but from 
as many excellent poets as the world possesses." * 

This correspondence connects two of the most conspicuous 
Court poets of Ercole's circle together, and with Isabella- 
>Ve have already frequently met with the Duke's nephew, 
Niccold da Correggio, who was bom, as we saw, in 1450- 
Courtier and soldier, he played a leading part in almost: 
every Ferrarese festivity, and, as a condottiere of tho 
Dukes of Milan, fought in every warlike enterprise under- 
taken by the House of Sforza in Italy. He had married 
Cassandra, one of the daughters of the great Bartolommeo 
Colleoni, a lady of great wit and beauty, who sumptuously- 
entertained the French ambassador on his way from Piacen^a. 
to Ferrara to assist at the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia.* 

1 Isabella's letter and Niccold's answer, in Renier, op. oit, pp. via, / 

ix. Similarly, we find Jacopo Tebaldi writing to Isabella about 
liis cousin's poems : " In his book I have found a sonnet which 
sliiows me that his intention has always been to dedicate this work 
to thy lofty name. I would not that my theft should deprive thee 
of any of thy rights ; but have entitled the little book to thee." 
i:>edicatory letter prefixed to Tebaldeo's sonnets. / 

• Cagnolo in Lucrezia Borgia in Ferrara, pp. 34» 35- / 

483 



/ 



DUKES 

Although Ariosto 
of the praises of B 
even more pronoiu 
who opens his mou 
of my iQost illust 
Marchioness/' he v 
words of the Holy 
** He was certainly k 
his modem biograph 
ingenious and clever 
composed verses and 
of much more avail in 
value of those poor rh 
wrote for the ducal tli 
e di Aurora^ a play 
Metamorphoses, on the 
very same that a contei 
in line and colour at F 
in the National Galler 
octaves, the choral inte 
Represented in 1487, i< 
Italian drama after the 
in every respect to i\s p 
1491, Niccold wrote for Is 
rima^ partly derived froir 
with the singer's own \o\ 

• Letter of August 10, 151 
Carreggio, ii. p. 69. 

• LuzioandRenier,(7/>. «/.,p 

• The two works, Innamoran 
Favola di Cefalo, are published 
1 507. A selection of Niccol6's i 
op. oil,, iv, 

4 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

There is, if I mistake not, a touch of genuine inspiration in 
one of liis earlier Isnics, the sonnet written from his Venetisin 
prison, after the disastrous battle of Argenta in 1482, urging 
Ferrara. to submit to the inevitable : — 

Vedova, sola, ottenebrata e scura, 

Ti v^gio, alma Ferrara, in tanti afEanni, 
Che s' io contemplo a li passati danni, 
Del tuo sterminio in tutto ho gran paura. 
Veggio U campo nemico alle tue mura, 
Che visser gi4 padfiche tant' anni. 
Temo or le forze, era i civili inganni, 
Se il Ciel non ha di te per piet^ cura. 
Io t'amo. Tu sai ben, ch' io n* ho cagione. 
Deh ! perchd non deponl omai V orgoglio ? 
Chd sai : sol V umilt^ vince il Leone. 
PiA che di mia prigion di te mi doglio ; 
Che poi che vedi in 1' arme la ragione, 
Vogli schivare il porto e dar nel scoglio.^ 

In a very Umited sense, the mantle of Boiardo may be 
said to have fallen upon a minor poet of a different stamp ; 
Francesco Bello, called because of his blindness II Cieco, or 
Francesco Orbo da Ferrara. Recent researches have shown 
that he was not one of those two blind poets who, in 1477, 



* " Widowed and alone, overwhelmed with darkness, do I see 
tliee, kind Ferrara, in so great torments that, if I contemplate 
tliy past losses, I have great fear of thy total destruction. 

' ' I see the hostile army at thy walls, which have lived in peace 
so many years. Violence and civic treachery I fear alike, unless 
Heaven for pity takes care for thee. 

" I love thee. Thou knowest weU that I have cause. Ah ! why 
<lost not henceforth lay aside thy pride ? for thou knowest humility 
a.lone conquers the Lion. 

" More than for my own imprisonment I grieve for thee, who, 

since thou appealest to the arbitrament of arms, wilt shun tlic 

liarbour and break upon the rock " (In Sanudo, Vite dei Duchi di 

Venezia, col. 1226. I have taken a slight liberty in reading che vedi 

lor ch* i' vidi in the penultimate line). 

485 



DUKES Af 

sang at the supper-pa 
brothers in the Palazj 
Mambriano, was comf 
at Bozzolo, where Gia: 
Marchese Gian France 
" I send Francesco Oj 
former from Bozzolo 
" in order that you, toe 
in his singing, which ge 
when you shall think i 
back, because here I ha 
to him." * After his ] 
settled in Mantua, whe 
died a few years later. 
The Mambriano is a ] 
some extent after the r 
though conspicuously ir 
We have the same min 
dements, of exa^erat< 
enchantments, and, tho 
serious than Boiardo, th 
references to the authorit) 
too, at intervals, and the< 
parts of the poem.* The 

1 G. Rua, PostUle su ire P. 
Letteratura Italiana, xi. p. 296 
and Francesco da Firenze. 

2 G. Rua, op, dt, p. 294. 

3 For II Cieco, see especial 
A full analysis of the poem w 
Romantic Narrative Poetry of i 
have translated Statius. He 
to a prelate of the House of 
mondo ; but, in the edition pi 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

are, strictly speaking, concerned with the ostensible subject 
of the work. They tell us of the war waged upon Charle- 
magi^® and the Christians of France by Mambriano, King 
of Bithynia* who has vowed to destroy Montalbano to 
avenge his kinsman Mambrino, whom he supposes to have 
been treacherously slain by Rinaldo. Alternating with this 
are adventures of the paladins Orlando and Astolfo in Spain 
and Airica — Astolfo being again a comic character and fairly 
successful. The enchantress Carandina exercises her arts on 
l>otli Mambriano and Rinaldo, holding the latter in amorous 
bondage while the invader routs Charlemagne and besieges 
Bradainante in Montalbano. Released by Malagigi's sor- 
ceries, Rinaldo defeats Mambriano, pursues him into Asia 
and conquers him, partly by force, partly by magnanimity. 
Mambriano marries Carandina, and the other enchantress, 
Fnlvia, is similarly converted from the errors of her ways. 
It is probable that the poem originally ended with the sub- 
mission of Mambriano and his aUiance with the victorious 
Rinaldo. But, possibly after his removal from Bozzolo to 
Mantua and at the instance of his new patrons, the poet 
sings on again in nineteen cantos practically unconnected 
with what has gone before. He gives his hearers the 
exploits of Rinaldo's son Ivonetto, Orlando's pilgrimage 
to Compostda, fresh sorceries of Malagigi for the benefit of 
his cousin, and other episodes which have nothing to do 
with the rest of the story. And now, as in Boiardo's poem, 
political echoes begin to be heard— as we should expect 
with a Court poet of the victor of Fomovo. The blind 
poet is at first enthusiastic for the coming of King Charles, 
and proposes to celebrate his glories in song : — 

that he had intended to recast the beginning of the poem and 
dedicate it to Ippolito d' Este. 

487 



DUKES Al 

Perseo, 
E vedi di 
Che '1 non 
N6 le iiov€ 
Bisogno c' 
E d' altre 
A voler eel 
Del novo C 

Costui in 
Che, se '1 f 
Nui lo vedr 
A Cesare e 
E rinfranca] 
Ad onta di 
Gi4 son mo] 
Profanameni 

But in the next cantc 
ally with the newly for 
gallica nebbia, this G< 
down the Alps and tinj 
with blood; and, a little 
away his thoughts from 
to lay down the lyre, seei 
Italy.** » At last, in t 

* " Perseus, mount again 
a laiger fountain, for the an 
the nine sisters united togetl 
Muses more talented and r 
history the lofty memory of i 

" He in brief while has a 
corresponds to the great begi 
and the vaunt from Caesar 
liberate the beauteous Holy 
many years has held it [insla^ 
fanely to our disgrace " (xxxi 

2 xxxii. I ; xxxvi. i, 2. 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

invasion in 1496, he breaks off at the end of Canto xlv— 
practically at the same point that he had reached nine- 
teen cantos before— with the triumphal return of his 
paladins to Paris :— 

Nel qual tripudio con giubilo e festa 
Voglio lassarli e terminar V historia, 
CW '1 furor de la gallica tempcsta 
Mi tra gli antichi fuor de la memoria, 
E non mi lassa far piil manifesta 
Secondo il consueto la lor gloria ; 
Anri per forza mi constringe e move 
A transmutar le cose vecchie in nove. 

Basta ch' io v* ho condutti i paladini 
A la lor patria vittoriosi e sani, 
£ soggiugati tutti i Saracini 
Che volean molestar nostri Cristiani, 
E narrato oltra i gesti peregrini 
De Renaldo e de gli altri capitani. 
In che modo il superbo Mambriano 
Fu fatto tributario a Carlo Mano. 

E perchd da costui ho incominciato, 
Se '1 non displace a vostra signoria, 

10 vo che Mambrian sia intitnlato 

11 libit) ove d fondata V opra mia ; 
Chd simel titol da Turpin gli 6 date, 
Scrittor famoso il qual non scriveria 
Per tutto Tor del mondo una menzogna, 
E chi il contrario tien vaneggia e sogna.^ 



1 " In this triumph with jubilee and rejoicing am I fain to leave 
mem and end the story, for the fury of the GaUic tempest draws the 
ancients out of my memory, and lets mc not manifest any more their 
glory according to my wont ; nay, by force it compels and moves me 
to transform old things into new. 

- It is enough that I have brought you the paladins victorious 
and sound to their native land, and subdued all the Saracens who 
wished to molest our Christians, and further narrated the wondrous 

489 



DUKES AN 

In the poetry, as in 
the artist was already 
all the rest : E naio chi I 
the mighty Dantesque 
of G)unt Niccold and 
Ariosti, both of when 
circumstances in the < 
Reggio in September, 
the office of captain of 
Count Niccolo with his 
the young Lodovico, th 
old, had his first sight 
(then awakening to a r 
horrors of the Venetian 
to be associated with hi 
making the boy study 
vico's tastes were for lit 
1493, he had been one 
Ercole took with him 
comedies before the Due 
The first poem of his t 
written on the occasion c 
in the following Octobei 
in terza rimay in parts in 
passing away of Laura 

deeds of Rinaldo and the 
Mambriano was made tribut 

" And because I have bej 
your Lordship, I would have 1 
entitled Mambriano \ for a li: 
writer who would not write 
who holdeth the contrary ra 

1 See above, chapter vii. 



THE POETS OF THE HERCULEAN CIRCLE 

After this, probably gratified at his success, his father 
left Lodovico free to foUow his own bent. Under the 
guidance of the humanist Gregorio da Spoleto, he plunged 
into the Latin poets, and began himself to compose poems 
in their language. He grew intimate with his fellow-pupil 
under Gregorio, the afterwards famous Alberto Pio of Carpi,* 
and with Ercole Strozzi ; a little later, he got to know Pietro 
Bembo, probably through one or other of the Strozzi. 

1*his first period of Ariosto's life was, in Carducci's much 

nuoted phrase, tuUa latina. All the poems that he wrote 

were in the language and measures of the ancients, Catullus, 

Horace and Tibullus being his usual models ; they are partly 

cjdressed to the three friends above mentioned and to the 

Vjelov^d kinsman, Pandolfo di Malatesta Ariosti, who shared 

His tastes and studies, partly to women. One of his first 

^^ftiS that we can date with certainty is an ode in alcaic 

tan^^s, Ad Philiroem, written in the summer of 1496, when 

Cb^^^ VIII was at Lyons and a new French invasion was 

Houtly expected. In amorous dalliance with sweet PhyUis 

^nong ^^ flowers, watching the reapers at their work, 

vroung Lodovico can jest at the rumours of Gallic fleets and 

^.j^ies, and the threatened downfall of his country, turribus 

izusoniis ruinam : ** Me nulla tangat cura ! *' Thus the 

oritited version of the ode ; but in the original sketch there 

vvere four other stanzas interposed, which the poet chose to 

otttlt and which give another aspect to his indifference. They 

struck at the mercenary soldiers who shed their blood for 

^old, at the cupidity and ingratitude of the Italian despots, 

Avlio robbed the children of those whose service had made 

1 In consequence of the perpetual quarrels in the Pio faniily, 
Ercole practically annexed Carpi to the Duchy of Ferrara in 1500, 
leaving Alberto only a nominal and partial possession. 

491 



DUKES AN 

them great.* In a di: 
spirit, are the lines in i 
after the French conquc 

Quid nostra sat GalJ 
Si sit idem hinc s 

Barbaricone esse est 
Moribus ? At ducil 

Somewhat remarkable, 
lamium which Ariosto c< 
Alfonso with Lucrezia Bi 
Herculean and Romulean 
the one band rejoicing in 
Ferrara, the other bewaili 
suffered — ^but both agreei 
lady as pulcherritna Virgo 

But now Ariosto, after 
whole care of his family up 
to appeal for aid to the 
captain of the Rocca of Cai 
where he loved and sang in 
the great work in which h< 
had left unfinished. In the 
service of the Cardinal Ip 
death of Ercole and accessio 

1 Carm. i. 8; Carducci, Delit 
pp. 88-90. 

2 " What matters it to us whe 
King, if there be the same hard 1 
to be under a barbarian name th 
Gods, give their deserts to these ( 

' Carm. i. 4. 



Chapter XIV 

THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

1^0 sooner had the news of the old Duke's death spread 
•^^ through the city than Tito Strozzi, Judge of the 
Twelve Sages and, therefore, nominally the representative of 
the people of Ferrara, solemnly came to the Castello and con- 
signed the sceptre and sword to Alfonso, recognizing him. 
as sovereign. Dressed in white and wearing the ducal cap, 
Alfonso rode in state through the city, between the CardinaX 
Ippolito and the Visdomino of Venice, preceded by th^ 
Cavaliere Giulio Tassoni bearing the ducal sword, followe<i 
by Don Ferrando and the other members of the reigning^ 
House, the nobles and magistrates on horseback, wittx 
mounted crossbowmen and men-at-arms, to the sound of 
martial music. As they rode through the vast crowci 
in the piazza, Alfonso turned to the Visdomino : *' Wh^ti 
think you of this people?" "A goodly folk, my lord,,"** 
answered the Venetian. " I should not care to live," said 
the Duke, " if this people and I did not bestir ourselves i^^^^ 
the service of the most illustrious Signoria." Before tH^^ 
high altar of the Duomo, Alfonso took the solemn oath o:f 
governing well and performing justice to his people, into tlx^ 
hands of the Cardinal. A heavy storm of snow and wixxd 
had raged, as the Duke and his train passed through tlx^ 
streets to the Duomo; "Verily," writes Pistofilo, "it w^^s 

493 



m 



an omen a^iid a. s. 

have to sustain it. 

But, at first, thi 

which these ** fur: 

" To-day right ea 

of Ferrara, ** there 

Costabili, our nota 

Nobility, and, man. 

countenance, he she 

write that thy fath 

hath pleased God, ha 

hast been declared L 

nobles and people. 

our soul. For, accord 

grieve that the Holy 

deprived of such a soj 

pnidence and probity. 

See with sincere piety. 

not only by thee and his 

all the right-minded; bu 

sary that he should son 

forj glory, but, perchan< 

must, nevertheless, afforc 

death befitted a life spe 

may hope that abundant j 

just Judge, our Saviour, i 

son, hast received the govt 

great consent, hoping that, i 

a parent, thou wilt show 

said Apostolic See and to t 

1 Sanudo, Diarii, vi. col. 126; 
p. 493. 

4! 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

as not merely to fulfil, but to surpass by far the opinion that 
we have conceived of thee. We, indeed, receiving and 
embracing thee as our most special son (as thou art), shall 
do with paternal affection whatever we shall learn may tend 
to supporting the honour of thy Nobility and the peace 
of thy peoples ; and all the more diligently as the newness 
of thy sovereignty seems the more to demand it ; so that, as 
far as pertains to us and this Holy Apostolic See, thou shalt 
not feel that thou hast lost thy father Hercules." ^ 

Alfonso had inherited but little of his father's popularity, 
and had none of his wife's culture. Brusque in manners, 
negligent in attire and somewhat forbidding in appearance, 
he left Lucreziato her own circle of poets and humanists, 
while he devoted himself to his favourite mechanical pursuits, 
casting guns, working in metal, manufacturing majolica ves- 
sels and the like in his own private boUega, Rough artisans 
and men of low birth surrounded him, jesting freely with him, 
frequently admitted to his table, and even sharing in his 
coarser pleasures. It is dear that he disUked Lucrezia's 
friends. Bembo had grown more cautious and distant in 
his homage to the Duchess, since her husband's return, and 
let himself less frequently be seen in Ferrara. In this 
year, 1505, he published his Asolani at Venice, with a 
dedicatory letter to Lucrezia, in which he mentions " my 
friends, much loved by me and honoured by the world, your 
intimates and famiUars, Messer Ercole Strozza and Messer 
Antonio Tebaldeo." » The Duke gave these two poets a 
severe fright at the beginning of his reign. We do not 
know exactly what he did or said ; but, on February 3» 

1 Brief of January 29, 1505. Archivio Vaticano, xxxix. 22, ff. 
252^, 253. 

2 Letter of August, 1505, in vol. viii. of the Opere. 

495 



M 



DUKHS ANE 

Benedetto Capilupo w: 

that Ercole Strozzi >vas 

all the people against hii 

Duke, hinting that the 

would tell her by word of 

wrote to the Marquis, 

benefice, because " this E 

why, and it is not safe fo 

the present, however, the 

two remained in Ferrara ij 

Firmly seated upon th 

secure the friendship of Vej 

dressed in black, accompan 

Giulio, with a following 

paid a state visit to the 

the utmost cordiality. Bv 

Ferrara. Throughout thii 

there was great famine ai 

women died of hunger in tl 

the pestilence followed ; sev 

and thousands more left th 

in July, and Tito Vespasiam 

fled to Reggio, where, in the 

who did not long survive. Tl 

^ Luzio and Renier, La ColtuVi 
d' Este, ii. 2, pp. 207, 239. In the 
them both to Mantua, in Februar 
autograph letters, uigently com 
tection (ibid., pp. 208, 239); but tl 
and they were able to return to F( 

* Tito's son Ercole, who had bee] 
of Judge of the Twelve Sages, no\% 
April, when Antonio di RinaJdo Co 

491 




'■"/■ 



',■».>;• (J^'lu/,- 



I 



//Ir^ (AAr .///^ 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

his quarters in Belriguardo. A copious harvest caused 
a general amelioration in the following year; but, in the 
meanwhile, an appalling tragedy had taken place which 
threw a dark cloud over the House of Este. 

We have already seen that, before the old Duke's death, 
there had been some hints of a party in Ferrara prepared 
to put forward Don Ferrando as a pretender to the succes- 
sion, and that it was rumoured that, if Alfonso had not re- 
turned from his travels in time, Ferrando would have been 
acclaimed Duke. There were many in the duchy that 
disliked Alfonso's personality and his apparent neglect of 
State business for his mechanical pursuits. Educated in the 
pompous Court of Naples, experienced in the service of 
France and Venice, Ferrando was intensely ambitious, and 
he now saw, in the discontent which was prevalent in these 
opening months of his brother's reign, his own way to the 
throne. 

The origin of the affair is still shrouded in mystery. But 
it appears that in this same September, 1505, while Lucrezia 
was at Reggio, the conspirators met at Carpi — that perpetual 
nest of conspiracies against the House of Este— without any 
definite result. Besides Don Ferrando himself, the leading 
spirits were Count Albertino Boschetti, a man between 
sixty and seventy years old, and his son-in-law, Gerardo 
de' Roberti of Reggio, who was one of the captains of the 
Duke's crossbowmen. The lesser limbs of the plot were Fran- 
ceschino Boccaccio of Rubiera, a creature of Ferrando's, 
and a priest of Gascony, called Gianni, whom Alfonso had 
picked up as a beggar boy during his travels, attracted by 
his sweet voice in singing, and admitted to his intimate 
circle, and who was one of the agents of his vices. Before 
they decided on taking definite action, the sting of revenge 

497 



DUKES AND P 

was added to the craving^s 

Estensian brothers ^^rere dr 

their parts in the impendin 

Donna Angela Borgia h 

with playing the part of the 

would-be Lancelot and j 

but had been indulging in s 

account. Her extraordinar 

hair which rivalled that of h( 

hearts of the Estensian pri 

ecclesiastical profession ; thi 

and the bastard Giulio were b 

upon the latter, allured by h 

she said, in answer to a pass 

" your brother's eyes are wort 

person." 

Don Giulio had temporar 
displeasure and been put un 
having Uberated from the pris* 
the Duke had sentenced to 
September ; but he shortly ret 
no danger. On November 3, 
expedition in the country rounc 
disguised, with a band of arm( 
assailed him ; in spite of Giuli 
was overcome and dragged froi 
brother stood looking on— s/d 
according to the express testimon 
both his eyes with a rapier, and 
was at Belriguardo when this he 

1 Sanudo, op. cit., vi. c 

2 Vita di Alfonso I d' 

498 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

himself hurried thither to inform him that their brother 
had been found horribly mutilated by imknown hands. 
In a passion of righteous indignation, Alfonso sprang from 
his seat— he was at table at the time — and ordered the most 
rigorous investigation to be made, himself hastening into 
Ferrara for the purpose. 

The hideous crime had been only partially accomplished, 
and the physicians were able to save the sight of one eye. 
A few days after the event, on November 8, Ippolito — 
who had many good reasons for dreading the Pope — 
dispatched an epistle to Beltrando Costabili, which is a 
perfect model of h5rpocrisy. " Although we are certain," 
he bade his secretary write, " that, from the letters of the 
Excellence of the Lord Duke, the Holiness of our Lord 
will have fully understood the accident that has befallen 
the most illustrious lord Don Giulio, our brother ; never- 
theless, both because of the special duty we owe his Beati- 
tude and because these scoimdrels who have offended the 
said Don Giulio were once in our service, we have thought 
fit to tell him the same again briefly, by the means of your 
reverend paternity. And, therefore, from us, after kissing 
the feet of his Holiness, you will make him understand 
that, while Don Giulio was at Belriguardo and riding for 
pleasure in the country round after midday, he was assailed 
by four men, formerly our familiars, who dragged him from 
his horse and with repeated blows strove to extinguish the 
light of his eyes— albeit we still hope that, by the grace of 
God, the affair will pass off well. The cause of such a crime 
and atrocious thing, so far as we have been able to imderstand, 
has been that these men (who, we said, had been of ours) 
had enmity with certain of the household of Don Giulio, and 
it seems that his Lordship favoured these latter extremely 

499 



DUKES AND POETS IN FE 

against them ; and those fellows, unders 

were some differences between the said 1 

us (because of that priest about whom 

believed that they would not be doing 

offending his Lordship, and so set them 

enormous an iniquity. Concerning this 

the greatest sorrow that can be thought ; 

that anything else could have happene 

to cause us so much grief and anguish a 

weighed and does weigh upon us so m 

go out of our proper bounds — inasmuch 

ecclesiastic, we have left nothing undoi 

Duke, our brother, to have these mak 

whom as yet we have not been able t( 

reverend paternity will explain to his 

usual dexterity, and express to him t 

we have therefrom." * 

As a matter of fact, Ippolito had s< 
of the territories of the duchy, and 
fallen upon himself. At the advice 
Sages, Antonio Costabili, he left F 
escape the first impulse of Alfonso's 
wrote to Venice, requesting that the 
delivered up to him, if taken. A 
dezino, a Venetian subject, was arresi 
having been one of the assailants of D 
the Cardinal intervened vigorously 
tion, the Duke bade his ambassado 
Salimbeni, insist upon it, in season a 
that " it is necessary for our honour 
means, in our hands." The Sign 
* CappeUi, Lettere di Lodovico A 
500 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

complied ; the man was at first said to have confessed, but 

a.fte]rwaxds released as innocents But already the Duke's 

anger liad evaporated, and he could do nothing without 

Ippolito. Before the end of December, the Cardinal was 

baxJc in Ferrara, perfectly in accord with Alfonso. Niccold 

da Correggio, at the Duke's instance, attempted to bring 

about a reconciliation between the Cardinal and Giulio ; in 

the presence of Alfonso, Ippolito craved pardon of Giulio, 

and Niccold persuaded the two brothers to exchange the 

kiss of peace.* Needless to say that it was the kiss of 

Judas. 

Thirsting for vengeance, Giulio made common cause with 
Eton Ferrando, and it was decided that the Duke and the 
Cardinal should fall together. Machiavelli, in his famous 
chapter on conspiracies, observes that a plot against a single 
prince is a doubtful, perilous and imprudent thing ; but to 
plot against two is utterly vain and foolish. There is another 
difficulty that the Florentine secretary perceives in these 
things, and that is what he calls "the majesty and the 
reverence that cling to the presence of a prince" — ^Shake- 
speare's "divinity" that "doth hedge a king." "Two of 
his brothers," Machiavelli says, "plotted against Duke 
Alfonso of Ferrara, and they used as their means the priest 
Gianni, the Duke*s singer, who many times at their request 
brought the Duke among them; so that they had the 
opportunity of assassinating him. Nevertheless, never did 
one of them dare do it." * The delay was partly due to the 
dif&culty of killing the two together, Ferrando being bent 

^ Sanudo, op. cit, vi. coll. 255, 270, 271 ; Cappelli, op, cit., docu- 
ment 5 (ducal letter of December 2, 1505). 

« "Luzio and Renier, Niccold da Correggio, i. p. 244. Sanudo, 
op. oit,t vi. col. 276. 

* Discarsi sopra la prima dsca di Tito Livio, iii. 6. 

501 



DUKES ANI 

upon taking the Duke's 1 
should perish first. Th< 
the chance they needed- 

Gayer than ever was 
famine had abated, tht 
her health restored, gIo\ 
spirits, Lucrezia presided 
da Correggio as her mast 
played before the Court ; 
Mercury appeared, " procl 
in Heaven among the Goc 
Duke in his seat," and ^ 
announcing that there woul 
no more pest or famine, 
with his glorious consort, f( 
a new Alcides.* The Due 
tended by her buffoons, Ba 
through the streets of the 
maskers, too ; men secretly < 
federates, lurking through 
crowds of disguised merrym 
and the Cardinal. Gianni 
Alfonso should cross their patl 
arrived, none of the conspirati 

The chance had been lost. 
on a pilgrimage to Galicia, le 
hands of Lucrezia and Ippol 
Venice. On his return, the 
Ippolito's suspicions were arous 
and frequently caught Gianni I 

* Letter from Bernardino dc'Prosp 
5,1506. Luzio and Renier, iVi^^o/d 

502 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE. 

physical strength, indulgmg in rough horse-play with the 
Duke/ which the Cardinal perceived might easily lend 
itself to something more serious. He warned Alfonso and 
had a certain Girolametto, a favourite servant of Don 
Giulio's, arrested. 

In the meanwhile, a rumour had reached the Marquis of 
Mantua " of some infamous scandal, which it was our office 
to avert by all means in our power." Isabella, who was 
passionately attached to all her brothers, was wild with 
anxiety, and implored her husband to save Giulio from the 
dangers that threatened him, by inviting him to Mantua 
under colour of visiting their famous stables. Giulio at 
first seemed disposed to stand his ground ; but at length, 
realizing the peril he was in, he fled from Ferrara and 
reached Mantua in safety. Here he convinced Isabella of 
his innocence and that he was the victim of a conspiracy. 
When Alfonso ordered him to return within two ddLys, the 
Marquis wrote a vigorous letter on his behalf to Niccolo 
da Correggio, assuring him of Giulio's absolute and whole- 
hearted fidelity to the Duke, beseeching him to obtain 
from his Excellence a safe-conduct for him and an exten- 
sion of the two days : " and if anything else induces us to 
intervene in this matter, save our universal affection for all 
our brothers-in-law and respect for our common honour, 
may God never grant us an5rthing that we want." * This 
was written on July 21 ; but two days later, July 23, the 
Count Albertino and Franceschino Boccaccio, with two of 
Ferrando's grooms, were arrested. Under the question, 

» See Cappelli, op. cit., p. cxxvi. 

* The whole letter, which throws this completely new light upon 
the story, is given by Luzio and Renier, Niccold da Correggio, i. 
pp. 24s, 246. 

503 



DUKES AND POETS II 

they revealed everything. Gerardo 
to Carpi, the priest Gianni (who 
carried the plot into efiect) fled to ] 

Ferrando either could not or > 
summoned to his brother's presen 
and craved pardon, on the grour 
thought only. In a paroxysm o 
that he would make him match 
with his own hands, struck out o 
A solemn day of thanksgiving a 
by the Commime of Ferrara, to 
was some while before Alfonso 
hands ; Antonio CostabiU and 
successively sent to Mantua w 
being entirely swayed by Isabell 
Alfonso personally met him at t 
to give way.* Roberti had a 
Gianni arrested in Rome. On 
ducal crossbowmen brought < 
on September 12, Boschetti, 
beheaded and quartered on a 
heads were fixed on the tower 
where they remained many yec 

For the two princes, anotl 
In the great central courtyard 
was reared. The Court and j 
been summoned to attend ; i 
were thronged with men an< 

* Frizzi, iv. p. 224; CappeUi, 
credible ? 

* Sanudo, op, ciL, vi. col. 396. 

^ Pistofilo, p. 495. 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

sight. What must have been^Lucrezia's feelings, as she 
waited the coming as a felon of the man who had been her 
husband's proxy to bring her to her new home! The 
courtiers were in agitated suspense, the Duke himself 
sat in gloomy silence. At last the sound of the Miserere 
broke upon their ears, and, accompanied by brown-robed 
friars, the two half-blinded princes, helplessly dazed at the 
sunlight, were led up from the dungeons which are shown 
as those of Ugo and Parisina. Each attended by a masked 
headsman, ominously robed in red, they ascended the 
scaffold. Then Alfonso suddenly rose and signed to the 
executioners to stay their hands. He would spare his 
brothers' lives ; the sentence was commuted to perpetual 
imprisonment.^ Their goods were divided among the 
Duke's favourites ; NiccolddaG)rreggiogot Giulio's house in. 
the Via degli Angeli, while Alfonso took into his own pos- 
session the splendid palace near San Francesco whidi their 
father had left to Ferrando. 

It was evidently thought desirable to remove Donna 
Angela from the scenes, and, in December, Lucrezia married 
her to Count Alessandro Pio of Sassuolo.' We shall meet 

* So, in effect, Fra Paolo da Lignago, ff. 174, 175 ; CappeUi, op. cit., 
p. xxxi; Friz2i,iv.p. 225. But, in the case of Ferrando, all this 
must have been largely a matter of show. It was known in Venice, 
more than a month before, that his doom was perpetual imprisonment 
and that rooms were being prepared for him in the Castello (Sanudo 
VI. col. 388). Also, the Marquis of Mantua in surrendering Giulio had. 
obtained a promise that his life should be spared. They were im- 
prisoned high up in the Torre dei Leom,and apparently not treatea. 
with any further rigour. The scope of the present volume fortun- 
ately allows me to reserve for another place the vile treatment o£ 
this tragedy by Lodovico Ariosto. 

* " On the sixth day of December (1506), Madonna Angela Borgia 
went as bride to the house of the Lord Alessandro de' Pii, her bride- 
groom, in Ferrara, accompanied by all the Court " (Fra Paolo, 

505 K K 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

her again — not only among those 
welcome the safe arrival of Ariosto's 
the Orlando Furioso, By a Strang 
twenty years later, the son of this ir 
became the husband of IppoUto's natuj 

At the b^^inning of January, the laj 
met his fate. The priest Gianni, wh 
himself by entering the service of th 
Riario, was brought to Ferrara froi 
difi&culty saved from being torn to p 
After being horribly tortured, he was 
from one of the towers of the CasteUo. 
this with much patience and apparent 
than a week, he was found strangled 
member of the conspiracy who deserve 
and who richly merited his fate. 

Meanwhile, the papal thunderbolts Ii 
House of BentivogUo. Inflexible in his 
back all the cities claimed by the Holy 
occupied Perugia in August, 1506 — Gia 
this occasion letting sUp the chance 
and all his Court prisoners, and thus 
through all the world, in so great a thing, 
had already made his name infamous 
smaller." ■ With the aid of French troop 

f . i7Sv). In 1 500, before coming to Ferrara, si 
to Francesco Maria della Rovere, nephew < 
Giuliano and heir to the Duchy of Urbino, whc 
years old ; but the engagement had been bro 
document 23). 

* Sanudo, vi. coll. 532, 533. There is a hi( 
treatment in Fra Paolo's Chronicle, i.'iyS- 

' Guicciardini, vii. 

506 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 
the Pope was preparing to seize upon Bologna likewise. 
From Cesena he issued a bull ordering Giovanni Bentivoglio, 
instantly to leave his city, under pain of excommunication, 
including all who adhered to him or had any dealings with 
him. In October he reached Imola, where he appointed 
the Marquis of Mantua lieutenant-general of the enterprise 

Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino, as Gonfaloniere of the 

Church, being nominally the commander-in-chief of the 
ecclesiastical forces. " We cannot but have compassion," 
wrote the Gonzaga to his wife, " for this noble and to us 
always friendly family of the Bentivoglio, that now finds 
itself so in the balance ; but the confidence that the Pope 
has placed in us compels us to do what our honour bids. 

Since the death of Duke Ercole, relations had grown 

colder between the House of Este and Giovanni Bentivoglio. 

There had been much bitter feeling on both sides, over 

questions concerning the restrictions imposed by the 

government of Bologna on the new Ferrarese subjects in 

Cento and La Pieve taking their crops out of the Bolognese 

territory, and the retaliatory measures adopted by the officials 

of the Ferrarese custom-house m levying heavy taxes and 

duties upon the Bolognese. " TeU them," wrote Alfonso to 

Ippolito, in the terms of the "new diplomacy" of the 

epoch, " that whatever happens is entirely their fault. We 

are in the right, and the Bolognese are in the wrong. Your 

most reverend Lordship can offer your own services as 

mediator ; but let them know that, if they imagine that 

they are stronger than we, especially when they are in the 

wrong, and that they have more favour at Rome than we, 

they will be very greatly deceived, and that, when the time 

1 Letter of October 14, 1506. Luzio and Renier, Mantova e 
Urbino, p. 174. 

507 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

comes, they will understand it bettei 
misliked the new situation, seeing th 
been a kind of rampart between his 
of the Church. Under compulsion, 1 
at-arms to swell the ecclesiastical ar 
himself to be summoned three time 
in person to pay his homage to the I 

On the night of November 2, the 
Bologna, Giovanni and his wife Gim 
of Milan, Annibale and Ermes to I 
governed the State during Alfoni 
them kindly ; but in consequence ol 
which appears to have cltmg to th( 
fectious disease, he could only shelt( 
during which all the churches wen 
services were permitted in the city. 
Pope entered Bologna in triumpli 
demonstration of joy by the citizens, 
no efforts to reconcile them to the r 

It is characteristic of the rela 
the princes of Italy at this date tha 
Lucrezia found a refuge in Mantu 
led the army that had chased them 
where Isabella was kindness itself 1 
even there, they were not suffered 
cruelty has been used against us,'* 
Cardinal Ippolito, " so that we can 
nor on earth.** * The new legate o 
Antonio Ferreri of Savona, purst 

* Letter of October 22, 1505. Archiv 
PHncipi. 

* Letter of May i, 1507. Dallari, p. 2 

508 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

rdentlessly with interdicts and excommunications. He 
competed Annibale and his little sons to leave Mantua at 
the beginning of April, allowing a brief delay to Lucrezia 
jjecause she was with child. The poor lady wrote piteously 
to Aiionso SLiid Ippolito, her half-brothers, imploring them 
to 1^^ ^®^ come to find a refuge with her little girls at 
Ferrara, her old home, as the terms of the interdict did 
not include women. The Duke answered that he dared not, 
for fear of offending the Pope, receive her, as he would have 
desired, but that he had written to the legate of Bologna 
to beg him to allow her to come to Ferrara.* But in the 
meanwhile, urged by desperation, Annibale and his brothers 
collected troops and entered the Bolognese territory ; 
their enterprise failed, and Ippolito was forced to make 
a show of moving against them with soldiers, to prevent 
their taking shelter in the Duchy of Ferrara. Alfonso 
wrote vigorously to him from Genoa, where he was in attend- 
ance upon the King of France who was laying siege to the 
revolted city, bidding him take every measure that no 
favour should be shown to the Bentivoglio by his subjects, 
so that the Pope and legate may be satisfied : " If you find 
any one disobeying our proclamations and orders in this 
niatter, have him punished without any respect, in such 
wise that we may hear his cries even here." * Nevertheless, 
Ippobto did as little against them as he could, succeeded in 
gaining both their gratitude and that of the Pope, and 
obtained from the latter a sort of permission for Annibale 
to join his wife at Mantua.* 

^ Letters of April 3 and 8, 1 507. Dalian, pp. 233, 234. 

« Letter of May i, 1507. Archivio di Modena, Carteggio dei 
JPrincipi. 

3 Dalian, p. 235. Writing from Borgo San Donnino, on May 9, 
Annibale and Anton Galeazzo Bentivoglio thank Ippolito for not 

509 



DUKES AND POETS I^ 

Cardinal Ferreri had bidden Luc 
month, or he would put Mantua u 
even had one of her servants tor 
State " ; but Isabella, generous as 
grace for her unhappy sister, who st 
papal permission to take refuge i 
Ferrara.* There is a piteous letter fn 
in which she beseeches him to use 
Governor of Bologna to get back ce 
had been seized : '' not only because 
need of them, but that it may not a 
utterly abandoned by your Lordshi 
are to enjoy my property ; the whic 
I need greatly, seeing that I have tc 
ders and nearly forty mouths to pr< 
vision on any side, since the lord m] 
nature that I beUeve your Lordsh 
was in his own house, we could dr; 
and that with diihculty ; your Lordsl 
now." And she imfdores him to ob 
help for Annibale to maintain those 
knowing to whom else to have re 
fate has led me perforce to beg 
Lordship may be assured that, wh< 
every hour for death, and, were it 
from my lady the Marchesana, wh< 
I deserve, I should sometimes be h 

having done what he could against the 
papal brief of approval, of May 8, 1507 

23- 
1 See Dallari, p. 236. 
^ Letter dated Mantua, August 18 

510 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

A ixiore sinister personage than the Bentivoglio had seemed 
for a, xnoment about to return to the Romagnole stage. In 
DeceixilDer, 1506, the secretary of Cesare Borgia appeared 
in Ferrara, to announce to the Duchess that her brother had 
esca.pe<l from his Spanish prison. He probably came to see 
if there was any chance for his master in Romagna, and 
Lucre^a sent him on to the Marquis of Mantua, to whom 
he had a letter from Cesare announcing his escape in some- 
v^hat sanctimonious terms : " I inform your Excellence 
that, after so many miseries, it has pleased our Lord God 
to deliver me and to draw me out of prison, in the way that 
you '^^ le^m from Federigo, my secretary, the bearer of 
this letter ; may it please His infinite Clemency that it be 
for His greater service.'** From Mantua the secretary 
went on to Bologna, where the Pope had him arrested. 
Lvicrezia wrote earnestly to the Marquis, imploring him 
to use his influence with the Holy Father that so great a 
stnaccatnento — ^as she more forcibly than elegantly called 

It should not be given to her brother, as would be the 

imprisonment of his servant. " I am most certain," she 

vvrote, '* that he will not be found to have done an)^hing 

^virrong, as he has not come to do or to say anything that 

caJi displease or cause uneasiness to his Beatitude. His 

Excellence would not think or dare to do such a thing to- 

'vv'ards his Holiness, and this man, if he had any commission, 

viirould first have conmiunicated it to me, and I should not 

l^ave tolerated, nor shall I tolerate that he should be the 

o^use even of suspicion, because I am a most devout and 

xnost faithful servant of his Beatitude, as also is the most 

Oiovaxmi Bentivoglio died at Milan in the following February. 
I^ttciezia was finally allowed to end her days at Ferrara. 
^ Letter of December y, 1 506. Gregorovius^ document 53. 

511 



DUKES AND POETS IN 

illustrious Lord my consort. But I 
that he has come for an3^hmg else, ss 
my brother's liberation." * 

Alfonso was still with King Lou 
Genoa, when the news reached Fen 
was dead. He had met a soldier's d< 
in the service of the King of Navarre 
while assailing a rebellious vassal, 
outside the city in Belriguardo wh< 
Raffaello, who had preached the 1 
Ippolito gradually broke it to her 
grief," wrote the Visdomino to hi 
constancy and without tears."* Al 
by the conduct of his wife and brot 

" We are beyond measure satisfie 
reverend Lordship has intimated to 
cation of the fate of the Duke her 1: 
trious consort,' it seeming to us tha 
has proceeded according to your 
experience. Likewise, we are mucl 
ship, our consort, has borne this a 
your Lordship tells us. This we att 
and virtue, and we thank you in! 
supremely satisfied and gratified wi 

Lucrezia came into Ferrara, not t 
convent of the Corpus Domini, wh< 
for a few days, in continual prayer 
her brother's soul. The faithful I 

1 Letter of January 15, 1507. Gregoi 
« Sanudo, op. cit, vii. col. 56. 
> Letter of April 27, 1 507, to the Cardi 
camp at Genoa. Archivio di Modena, 

512 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

to her his funeral poem on Cesare's death, of which one 
pa^ssLge will serve as an example : — 

Indulge lacrymis ; tibi, Borgia, iusta dolendi 

Causa : tuae primum gentis decus occidit, ingens 

Pace, ingens belle, frater tuus, ardua cuius 

Gloria Caesaribus par reque et nomine magnis. 

Occidit heu multo confossus vulnere ; teque 

Di vetuere pia frigentia lumina dextra 

Claudere, et exhalantem animam l^ere ore propinquo, 

Et lacrymis vastos plagarum absteigere hiatus, 

Condereque immensis caros ululatibus artus. 

Et iam quisque audet tanto dare frena dolori.^ 

At the end of April, Genoa had surrendered to the Most 
Cliristiaii King; early in May, Alfonso returned to Fer- 
raira. For the rest, this was a gloomy year in the city. 
The grief of the Duchess infected the Court ; the pestilence 
returned, " and wrought great damage and much slaughter." 

Things seemed brighter with the opening of the new year. 
The carnival of 1508 was rich in dramatic representations 
in the palace of the Estensi. On the evenmg of February 13, 
a dramatic eclogue, composed by Ercole Pio at the instance 
of the Cardinal Ippolito, was exhibited in the Sala Grande. 
The r>iike and the Cardinal were there, both masked, and 
Lncre^ia herself, surrounded by the ladies of her Court. 
Enamoured shepherds strove together in song, contended 

» •• Give way to tears I A just cause, Borgia, hast thou for grief. 
Xhe chief pride of thy race has fallen, thy brother, mighty in peace, 
mi^Ykty in .war, whose arduous glory is equal both in deed and in name 
to the great Caesars. Alas I he has fallen, pierced with many wounds ; 
a.oci thee the Gods have forbidden to close his dying eyes with loving 
hancl^ and to gather his passing soul upon thy lips, and with thy tears 
to -wipe his gaping wounds and with immense lamentation bury his 
dear limbs. Andnowalldaregivereintosogreatasonpw.*' Caesaris 
:Borg%€3^ Z>t4ci^ Epicedium per Hercul$m Strozam ad divam LucreHatn 
Borei(M>tn» PP- 30^^-381; of Aldo's edition of the two Strozzi. 

513 



DUKES AND POETS I 

for or against the whole race of the i 

the praises of the famous ladies of i 

modems, the three who now hel< 

upon the Eridanus, another upon 1 

near the Metaurus"; to wit, Lu< 

Duchess Elisabetta of Urbino. Tl 

hunters appeared, singing the prais 

The time was past for mourning an 

sacrifice to the goddess Pallas fc 

increase of their flocks, and to the g 

might protect them and conunend tt 

Then Ippolito*s tumblers performe 

singers hymned the " Diva Borgia 

was thrown upon the sacrificial fire, £ 

in a dance. " And I went home, r 

was much dancing, because it was i 

night, the time that each one has 

his own house.'* * 

Three more eclogues of the sam 
on March 8, but appear to have t 
by Antonio dall' Organo, ordered b; 
over- jocose and to contain things 
of performance ; the second, coi 
herself from Tebaldeo, presented th( 
into laurel, " the which, apart from 
ezza oi the verse and its good setUei 
mended," and apparently found 

* Letter of February 14, 1508, from 
IsabeUa. Lnzio and Renier, Urbino e M 
eclogue has not been preserved. Ercoi 
famous Marco and brother of the witt] 
d' Este then and to every reader of the 

.514 



**/ •' >J »■' * »-•'/»*# M-^ ' Q.€r • j?P» »-«■ I- 



--* --^ (J.J ?■ ' > * .'. -.:^^ :::.%^i/j 

THE END OF THE HERCULE;AN AGE 

o^^ * ^ ^ poor Greek who was of the household of Ercole 
Q^ , . * *aued completely, because it lacked the moralities 
lxa.cl ?f^^^^®^ ^^ ^^"^^y- And, verily, this courtly audience 
^^^^ ^^» ^ few days before, some experience in the moralUd 
^ ^he as<i#3«i> of comedy— in the shape of the Cassaria, the 
^^ extant comedy of Ariosto himself. 

On Mondayevening," writes Bernardino de' Prosperi to the 
ajTcliesana Isabella on March 8, after describing the failure 
^ ^^^ three dramatic eclogues that had been represented on 
*^3.t day, " the Cardinal had a comedy performed, which was 
^orripKJsed by Messer Lodovico Ariosto, his famigUare, and 
rendered in the form of a farce or merry jape, the which 
^^"^ l>eginning to end was as elegant and as delightful as 
^Tty other that I have ever seen played, and it was much 
commended on every side." The music, and especially the 
vronderful scenery painted by the Duke's Court painter, 
I^ellegrino da San Danide, were greatiy admired/ The 
C^ssaria in this, the earlier of the two versions, is all in 
prose with the exception of the prologue. In its characters 
and plot, it is a free imitation of the classical Latin comedies ; 
It is a rollicking piece of work, full of comical intrigue and 
cross-purposes, while the love-sick youths, ErofUo and 
Caridoro, with their sharp-witted knavish servants, contrive 
to rescue the two captive girls, Eulalia and Corisca, from 
the clutches of the vile pander Lucrano, and to involve the 
rich old merchant, Crisobolo, ErofUo's father, in their 
devices. 

Although a little later the Court was again in mourning— 
this time for the death of Cesare's former enemy, the 

^ Cf. L zio and Renier, La Coltuta e U Relazioni Letteratie 
4' Uab$Ua d' Este; ii. 2, pp. 208, 209; Campori, NoHzie per la Vita 
di Lodovico Ariosto, pp. 48, 49- 

515 



DUKES AND POET5 

good Duke Guidobaldo, who die 
was succeeded by Francesco Ma 
seemed, for the rest, about to sin 
this spring. Rome and Ven 
Julius conferred upon Alfonso th 
been some misimderstanding be 
Most Serene Republic ; so, on Apri 
Francolino with his flotilla of 
familianter, to justify himself, 
news of the birth of a son and hi 
was deUvered of a boy to whom t 
in memory of his paternal grandl 
Ercole Strozzi vfos well to the f ( 
cious event in his Gendhliacon, a Ic 
in elegiac verse, in which the glorie 
Este and Borgia are aU united 
future hero : — 

'^ Cresce De&m soboles, et avi I 

. ^- \ Herculis, ut sacro nomen al 

Exdtet, Alphonsusque atavus 

Summus Aragoniae splendor 

, . £t magnis stimulet te Caesar 

i * Grandeque Alexander sit tibi 

Hi tibi Scipiadas refemnt, refe 

Quosque tulit daros terra Pi 

Hardly had the rejoicings for th 

, ^ *' Grow up, offspring of the Gods, an< 

of thy father's father, Hercules, as thou < 
stream. Let thy forefathers Alfonso and 
a supreme glory of the House of Aragi 
stimulate thee by his mighty exploits, and 
be to thee a great spur. To thee thes 
bring back the CamiUi, and those fame 
bore." Genethliacon, pp. 53-56 of Aldo'i 

516 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

died away, than a m}^teriotis horror fell upon the G)urt, 
the mystery of which has not yet been fully explained. It 
must, as Gregorovius notes, have reminded Lucrezia of the 
tragical end of her own brother, Juan of Gandia. 

There lived at Ferrara a certain Barbara Torelli, daughter 

of Marsilio Torelli, the beautiful young widow of Ercole di 

Sante Bentivoglio. Her married life had been a tragedy 

from first to last ; Ercole Bentivoglio, who had served the 

RepubUc of Florence and Cesare Borgia as condottiere, was 

a harsh and brutal soldier, while she was delicately nurtured 

and highly cultured, a poetess of no mean achievement in 

the vernacular. She had been wrongly accused of adultery 

and of attempting her husband's life by poison, while 

living at Urbino ; and, although she had come triumphantly 

out of the ordeal, the latter had induced Duke Ercole to help 

him in taking his daughter Costanza out of her hands.^ 

On the death of her husband, Barbara had retired to Ferrara, 

the native city of her father's family, where she took part 

in the life of the Court and shone in its literary society. 

Lovers and admirers gathered round her ; it was whispered 

that Ercole Strozzi and a mysterious " personage of high 

rank " were rivals for her favours. Since she preferred the 

vernacular to Latin, Strozzi laid aside his wonted classical 

style and sang her praises in Italian sonnets. One of 

1 Cf. Letter of July 20, 1501, from Silvestro Calandra at Urbino 
to the Marquis of Mantua (D* Arco, Notitie, pp. 248, 249) ; letter of 
May 10, 1504, from Ercole Bentivoglio to the Duke of Ferrara 
(Dalian, p. 223). In a curious little note, apparently to the Duchess 
of Urbino, May 21, 1502, the Duke (Ercole) says that, to please her 
Ladyship, he has been content that Madonna Barbara should stay 
for a few days in the convent of S. Maria delle Grazie, but she has 
been staying too long, and, her presence being very inconvenient 
to the nuns, she must be taken away at once. Archivio di 
Modena, Minutario Cronologico, 

517 



DUKES AND POE 

these at least, the lover's long] 
when absent from her presence 

O beato pensier, ch' a c 
Per aspri monti e proJ 
A Madonna, e con lei 
£ godi '1 ben che di s< 

Dehl perch6 teco la grav 
Non pu6 volar a que' 
£ seco, come tn, star nc 
Bench^ piil presso a lei 

£sser questo non pud : di 
N6 percbd altrove miri, 
£ ogni sua forza nel pc 

Chd oltra *1 piacer che ha 
Fansi gli spirti nel pens 
Che 'n sogno col suo be 

Several other pieces in the vern 
which appear to be his ; they h 
merit ;* but the lame, perfumed C 
sigh in vain. 

1 •* Oh blessed thought, that at e^ 
mountains and deep waters, dost n 
and dwell with her, and enjoyest it 
world's desire; 

" Ah ! why cannot the irksome bod 
beauteous eyes, and with her, like 
although nigher to her it feels more 

" This cannot be. Let then my hea 
elsewhere may it ever see aught else, 
use in thought ; 

** For, beyond the delight it hath wh 
in thought become so intense that ind 
bliss." 

' There are four sonnets, including t 
have ventured to correct an obvious ei 
the seventh line), ascribed to Ercole St 
Poeti Ferraresi, pp. 53-55. One of th 
aurei crespi nodi," has also been 
Castiglione. 

518 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

On May 24, Ercole Strozzi and Barbara Torelli were 
privately married. Shortly afterwards, she gave birth to 
a daughter, to whom the Marquis of Mantua promised to 
stand as godfather. On the night of June 5, Ercole rode 
out, mounted on a mule, unattended, a pigliare un poco di 
fresco. He never returned alive. In the morning his body 
was found, covered with stabs and with the throat cut, a 
short way from his own house in the middle of the street 
near San Francesco ; he was wrapped up in his cloak, his 
hat upon his head and his crutch Isong by his side ; and, as 
there was no blood to be seen, it was concluded that he had 
been brought dead to that place. " No one named the 
author of the assassination," says Giovio, grimly and 
significantly, " because the Podesti kept silence." Although 
justice was rigorously enforced in Ferrara, no investigation 
of any sort was made to find out the perpetrators of the 
bloody deed. 

Later writers have been unanimous in recognizing that 
the blow came from the Castello, and that the Duke himself 
v/as at least privy to the murder. For some, the motive is 
found in Ercole*s familiarity with the Duchess Lucrezia; for 
others, perhaps more plausibly, in Alfonso*s own lust for 
Barbara Torelli. But the inscrutable despot kept his own 
counsels ; none dared question, nor name the doer of the 
deed ; even members of the Duke's own family seem to have 
been uncertain, and suspicion for a while fell — ^we do not 
know why— upon Alessandro Pio of Sassuolo, the husband 
of Angela Borgia.* Nevertheless, the silence of the Court 

* On June 30, Girolamo Mugiasca, writing from Bologna to the 
Cardinal Ippolito, says that public report named Alessandro da 
Sassuolo as the cause of Ercole's death, but that suspicion had been 
thrown upon Masino dal Fomo (Cappelli, op. cit., p. Ixiii. note 4). 

519 



DUKES AND PC 

tells its own story. It was 
and Lorenzo, the brothers < 
with the widow, announced 
Marquis of Mantua, hoping, 
vengeance upon him ivho had 
of his, as on their side they wo 
idle words. To Barbara's i 
coldly answered that he was i 
occurrence, " the unhappy fati 
the consort of your Magnificeji 
of an affectionate friend ; thai 
those that Messer Ercole had lef 
had borne to Ercole himself ; an 
Tebaldeo to represent him as g 
tism, according to his promise 
ourselves for the services of j 
love that we bore to the dec< 

This Masino was one of Alfonso's fai 
June 6 to Isabella, telling her of w 
de' Prosperi gives no hint of the m 
Coltura, etc., d' Isabella d* Este^ ii 
Pistofilo, the murdered man's broth 
Simone Fomari of Reggio, almost 
sopra V Orlando Furioso, Florence, 15 
di Filippo Strozzi (Vile degli uomini 
77 i 78)> who had been present in hi 
Alfonso and Lucrezia, openly accuse 
of June, the Visdomino, Francesco Or 
so we have no hint in Sanudo's D\ 
was regarded at Venice. On the 
that, had a Dante of the Cinquecentc 
shores of Pui^gatory, he would probablj 
as Jacopo del Cassero uttered to his 
il fe' far (Purg, v. y?)- 

^ Luzio and Renier, op. cii., ii. 2, pp. 
letter is dated July 10, 1508. 

520 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 

Ketro Bembo and Aldo Manuzio offered up poetic 
tributes at the tomb of the murdered man ; Ariosto himself 
wrote his epitaph— eight somewhat frigid and conventional 
lines of elegiac verse.* The hapless widow alone dared to 
speak ivhat was in her heart, in a sonnet which, among the 
l3^cs of the age, stands alone in its fire and pathos : — 

Spenta d d* Amor la face, il dardo d rotto, 

E Tarco e la faretra e ogni sua possa, 

Poi ch* ha Morte crudel la pianta scossa, 

A la cui ombia cheta io dormia sotto. 
Deh I perclid non poss' io la breve fossa 

Seco entiar dove hallo il destin condotto, 

Colui che appena cinque giomi e otto 

Amor legd pria de la gran percossa ? 
Vorrei col foco mio quel freddo ghiaccio 

Intepidire, e rimpastar col pianto 

La polve e rawivarla a nuova vita ; 
E vorrei poscia baldanzosa e ardita 

Mostrarlo a lui, che ruppe il caro lacdo, 

E diigli : Amor (mostro crudell ) pud tanto.» 

Shunned and neglected by all, Barbara fled from Ferrarat 
to Venice, taking with her some of Strozrfs illegitimate 
children ss well as her own little daughter. " One for fear, 

^ CiMrvH. iii. 7. 

* ** Quenched is Love's torch, his arrow is broken, and his bo^w 
and quiver and all his power, since cruel Death hath shaken the treo 
beneatli whose shadow I slept in peace. 

•' All I why cannot I enter with him into the narrow grave whither 
destiny has brought him, him whom scarcely thirteen days Lov© 
bound before the great stroke ? 

" Fain would I with my fire warm that cold ice, and remould 
the dust with my tears and revive it to new life; 

"And then, daring and fearless, would I show it to him, who broke 
this dear bond, and teU him : Thou cruel monster. Love has this mucli 
power.'* 

This sonnet, which ^^g fijgt published by Baruffaldi in the Rims 
scslte ds% Poeti Fwraresi p 55 has in the second quadcrnario a 
designed echo of the soix^et ah«dy quoted, that Stroza had written 
to the poetess herself. 



521 



L L 



DUKES AND POE: 

another for personal interest,' 
Mantua, "not any one has b< 
memory nor his children, savi 
thought, since I kept silent .! 
my horrible misfortune would J 
compassion ; but I find myself mn 
than ever.** ^ 

With the death of Ercole Str<: 
poets and men of letters, that had 
and person of the late Duke Ercc: 
end. Niccold da Correggio had 
the previous February, n^Iected a 
Alfonso, who on his death took i 
Giulio which had been ceded to him 
had ended his da3rs.* But the loss of 
who had been the life of so 
seems to have shed no gloom over 
Ferrara, when Lodovico Ariosto made 
hit than in that of the previous y< 
of his new comedy, the SupposUi or 
earUer prose form. 

* Letter dated Venice, March 17, 1509. 
Renier, in the Giomale Storico della Letterai 
249 note. Cf. Bertoni^ La Biblioieca Esiense, 
even appealed to Duke Alfonso bimself on I 
Cesare. 

* Writing to Isabella, Bernardino de'Prospi 
been hastened by his " grief and melancholy i 
great and now cast down." Luzio and Renier, 
ii. pp. 74, 75. In May 1507, Alfonso had be 
Pope to take back certain possessions from Nice 
to their former owners, the Sued of Bresc 
concerning which are two letters of May 30 a 
to Ippolito, in the Arthivio di Modena, Cafieg§ 
perhaps the cause of Niccold's di^race. 

523 



THE END OF THE HERCULEAN AGE 
-We m ^ prologue, which Ariosto himself recited and which, 
the '^* *****' *^ '^^^g'^"^ by tlie obscene play on words that 
^^^^^<>5rrupted taste of the age more than tolerated, the 
onlv ^'**®®^ *° ^v® followed Plautus and Terence, but 
^^y wi the way of poetical imitation. Nevertheless, as 
ardino de' Prosperi noted in giving his account of the 

eati^^^^^^^ *** *^^ Marchesana IsabeUa, the play was " an 
ely modem comedy." » Instead of a Greek town in 
i ^^'iKK ^^^® classical epoch, the scene is laid in Ferrara itself 
^ the last decade of the fifteenth century. Instead of the 
^^^^^^'^*ted slaves and their knavish pranks, we see the 
s uaents and doctors of the Studio in their long gowns ; 
naerchants from Siena or Catania land at the quay, and pass 
^P those very streets through which we wander to-day ; 
*^e are modem japes at the expense of the corrapt ducal 
o cials and the aggressive custom-house functionaries, 
though, of course, it is expressly stated that " we have, above 
ail, a. most just prince." In a word, notwithstanding a few 
motives and situations lifted from Terence and Plautus. 
we have, for the first time, a comedy of Italian Ufe, several 
yeais before Machiavelli had composed his Mandragota. 

With the representation upon the Ferrarese stage of the 
Cassaria and the SupfosUi, the first regular ItaUan comedies 
upon classical models, the work of Duke Ercole in the 
renovation of the Italian drama may be said to have been 
completed. And, indeed, with this carnival of 1509 the 
golden age of Ferrara ended. A period of strife and disaster 
was about to set in. « jt was a time," writes D'Ancona, 
" not of comedies, but of effective and real tragedies; and 
all Italy, especially the valley of the Po, was the scene of 

* Letter of F«bruaiy 8, i509- CanqHwi, op. dt., pp. SO, S^- 

533 



DUKES AND I>OE' 

them.*** In these the i:>ixke 
Ippolito, as also in his degree A 
their parts. Beljdng the prom 
the House of Este, Pope Juli 
beginning of that relentless sti 
and the Estensi, which only ei 
of Qement VIII with the incorp 
territories of the Church. As 1 
Ercole in the Tower of the Lior 
IppoUto and Alfonso, and died i 
1559, more than half a century a 
half-blind man appeared in the s 
the costume of a bygone age. It 
released from his captivity at t] 
grandson — ^that second Alfonso 
sovereignty of the House of Este 
to an end. 

* Origini, ii. p. , 



5^4 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX I 

Unedited Poems of the Borsian Epoch 

WHILE the courtly poetry that flourished inFerrara during 
the reign of Duke Borso was mainly Latin, there was a 
certain amount of verse written in the vulgar tongue. The 
Canzoniere of Matteo Maria Boiardo, written, as we saw, in the 
last years of his reign, is the supreme example. Most of the 
minor poetry of this kind seems to lie still unedited on the shelves 
of the Italian libraries — a striking poem to a dead wanton by 
Andrea da Basso (in the Rime scelte dei Poeti Ferraresi) being one 
of the few exceptions. The two manuscripts of vernacular Court 
poetry, which I am about to describe, are both, as far as I know, 
unpublished. 

In the Ubraryof the Wsiiicaii {Biblioteca Vaticana, Cod. Capponi- 
ano, 219) is an anonymous Triumph of Duke Borso, in six cantos 
in terza rimay somewhat in the spirit of the painted laudations of 
the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, Federigo da Montefeltro and 
Battista Sforza, by Pietro de' Franoeschi in the Uffizi. The first 
canto opens : — 

Tatto il mondo non ha il pii!l sdocho ingiegnio 
del mio nd le piil mvide parole, 
tA di trattar gran cose homo men degnio. 

But his friend and gossip, Monsignor Hermolao, has suggested 
this great subject to the writer : — 

n magnanimo Borso mia dolce escha, 

cibo da satiar ongni poeta, 

di sua virtik mio canto tutto invescha. 
£ materia mi da si plana e queta 

da cantaie, offerendomi se stesso, 

che tutta la mia mente ne fi leta. 



APPEI 

Denanzi ag^ ochi me lo ' 
txa qnatio donne belle 
che in oompagma van s 

Un ghambo d'or da qaati 
gemme con perle gxosse^ 
oniato pare come I>io il 

Qnanto egli sia giozioso e 
per queste donne et altr 
ta, sagro Apollo, chiaro 

e come snmmamente egli t 
co^ piaoere a me fai sua 
degnia dil lauro tuo verd 

A noi non so ben dir come 
giamai potesse alguno ess* 
cosi profondo thema pred: 

Vengha Virgilio e Flacco e i 
e quello che Peligno tanto 
e Gallo con Ptopertio e cc 

e tutti sette insieme caccian 
ci6 che hanno detto poetai 
e quel che se descrive de 1 

che mai non mostraranno tal 
qual si farebbe di costal cl 
d'esser lodato in Talto cone 

O convenente a glorioso ingiei 
materia, come pati tanto tc 
quant' io te facio essendo d 

These four ladies who ever accomj 
Prudence, Fortitude, Justice and Ten 
dant virtues, a canto being devo 
Pradence goes in front of him (canto ii 
nobile e legiadre " under her charge- 
standing. Science, Knowledge, Industr 
Experience : — 

In questo modo dil sue amore £ 
Madonna il mio signiore inclyt 
che esser chiamato gi4 solea JV! 

Percid convien che la sua fama J 
e che splendor per Tuniverso s] 
tH che se stesso in cielo se coa< 

On his right side goes Fortitude (cantc 

528 



APPENDIX I 

her handmaidens, Faith, Constancy, Perseverance, Courage, 
Loyalty and many more. 

£ co^ acompagniato se ne viene 
a tanta perfetione de virtute 
che ongniuno divo e semideo lo tiene. 
Hot penaa quando in porto di salute 
£gli sia gionto quale fi sua fama, 

per la qual nuUe lingue finno mute. / ') 

Continuameute il cielo a se lo chiama, 
ma pur ne lo concede per molti anni 
per contentar la nostra vogUa e brama. 
Foriano troppo ismesurati danni 
gli nostri se ne fosse prima tolto, 
e cason ne foria de etemi affanni. 
Non mancho danno che se'l suo bel volto 
Apollo nascondesse, ne fi alhora 
quando costni ser& da noi disciolto. 
Ma la speranza ch'egli al men dimora 
tra noi cento anni come il ciel permette 
dil career di paura ne tien fora. 

On the left side of the poet's signior novello, " ove seanida il 
core," always goes Justice (canto iv.). Temperance follows 
him step by step (canto v.), with her attendants : Magnificence, 
Liberality, Mansuetude, Modesty, Gravity and Courtesy, Con- 
tinence and Purity : — 

Tra queste donne va lo amato amante 

posto nd mezo de le principesse, 

modesto, iusto, praticho, e constante. 
* * • * 

Libero fi da ongni terrena peste 

piii che nuir altro principe non sia, 

chi voglia mie parole haver moleste. 
lo non credo ad altrui far viUania 

per lodare costui che da splendore 

a tntta la terrestre monarchia. 

In the sixth and last canto, the poet once more professes his 
unworthiness and inability adequately to express the triumph 
2Lnd glory of Borso's state, and humbly craves to be taken into 
his service : — 

529 



APPENDIX ! 

D'altronde mai mm apeio essei 
se non indi cfae fi se'l mio < 
non mi 6 nemicho come sem 

and per dir pid vero se'l divi 
iudido non mi d contra per 
ma sia pietoso al dedio per 

Come si sia me par che me si 
I'nna e Taltra nel cor sperai 
ben cfae temerit4 forte me ii 

Chieggio per gratia in locho d 
dal mio Signior che tra soi 
servi me doni piccol locho c 

a ad ch'io possa haver venti 
a la debile barcha del mio 
il qual convien che per lui 

Forse che '1 tempo mi far^ pi 
che hora non son di far di 
se de amarmi si scopre in i 

Altro ragionamento a la mia 
non 81 fari che di sua grac 
la fama cfaui per tut to il n 

Donemi pace e vita con salul 
Iddio, si ch'io mi possa pn 
cfae le mie vod non staran 

II mio riposo, il mio sununo 
ser& di haver continuameni 
la cjrthra e di costni canta 

rioontando con verso pid sop 
che non fi questo, il qual ] 
perr6 che in vero d troppo 

gli soi meriti degni d'alto stii 
e di prisoo poeta lanreato 
e de ingiegnio mirabile e s 

Vengha ^ come aspetto il d< 
tempo ch'io veggia la mia 
d ch'io me trovi stare in \ 

che non fi algun che me stin 
come forse ad altmi pax c 
essend' io da fortuna oppr< 

Bii transporta a parlar la f aj 
de' fatti proprii piA ch'io i 
Ma ritomiamo ne la dritts 



He cannot express with words the : 
to which his universal popularity tl: 

530 



APPENDIX I 

testimony. Truth alcme will defend his song and supplement all 
its deficiencies :— 

Perci6 il mio canto molto non si cura 

n6 cercha di haver altra compagnia 

che sola veritade Integra e para4 
Costei mi aegue e vien mecho per via, 

mentr* io vo dietro al mio signior cantando 

e mostro altnii sua gloria e monarchia. 
Di lui ragiono, e lei testificando 

Gonferma ci6 ch'io dicho e fanne fede, 

tX che da noi si sa busia haver bando. 
Al mio parere ongnitmo ne lo crede, 

forse algun no, che per invidia privo 

dil lume il vero non disceme e vede. 
Ma priegho Dio che qnello che hora scrivo 

mi presti un' altra volta megUor aso 

di replichar e mi mantengha vivo ; 
alhora mover6 tutto Pamaso. 

We have no due to the identity of this poetic seeker for Borsian 
favours. At j&rst sight, the reference to Catullus as U mio CatuUo 
jxiight lead to the hypothesis that he was a Veronese by origin, 
and the prayer for the ciecho peregrino imply that, Hke several 
otber versifiers of the Quattrocento, he was physically blind. 
-jliis would, however, be unduly stretching a point ; the one 
Elusion probably only means that Catullus was a special favourite 
^tb him (cf . the U mio TihuOo in the third sonnet by Nuvolone 
Quoted below), and the other seems a mere metaphorical form of 
speech. We must, therefore, leave him for the present in his 
ol>9Curity. 

The case is very different with our next poet. Filippo Nuvo- 
lone was a Mantuan by origin. He was the son of that Carlo 
I^uvolone, whom we have akeady met in the circle of the Mar- 
elaese Leonello among the interlocutors of Angelo Decembrio's 
l^e Poliiia LiUeraria, and who was frequently employed in the 
service of the Estensi. FiUppo studied Greek under Lodovico 
Carbone and Battista Guarini at the Studio of Ferrara; he 
seems to have divided his time between the Courts of Boreo 
d' Este and Lodovico GoMaga ; the first Mantuan edition of the 
Divina Commedia was dedicated to him in 1472 ; and he died of 

531 



APPENDIX I 

the pestilence at Venice in 1478.* Ii 
(Additional MS. 22,335) there is a man 
sonnets and canzoni, dedicated by Filip 
d' Este, the half-brother of Borso and £ 
dedicatory canzone to Alberto, in which 1 
professes himself to be enamoured migl 
Wisdom, but in the pieces that follow (" 
e de amore de PhiUppo Nuvoloni com 
illustre et excelso signore Alberto da Ei 
festly to be a mortal woman. They are 
and manner, copious in their parade of < 
no means devoid of charm. The fom 
examples : — 

Quando la donna mia nd tern 
colui che la formd nel del s 
rentuona fin la su la sna fa' 
tal doldeza escie de i suoi 1 

El star suo grave allor ben mi 
quando devota veggio esser 
che ogni virtute et honest §1 
racolte paian tutte inaeme i 

Non miri adunque altrui se il 
i suoi costumi e il suo gieni 
mi strigne a far de cid men 

chd quanto piA ci penso piii n 
el dir di lei : e al ciel semp 
sua degna alta virtii, gloria 

1 For Filippo Nuvolone, see Bertoni, La Bi 
124 and note. 

> Alberto d' Este was the most '* difficult 
frequently on bad terms with his brothers, 
accidentally killing a man in the ducal palao 
He was at first high in favour with Ercole, wb 
been instrumental in procuring ; but in May. 
for refusing to go to greet a foreign prince [a 
Schifanoia was confiscated. While in exile, ! 
the fallen Duchess of Milan» Bona, caused a d 
Milanese State, and Ercole forbade him to visit 
responsible for the consequences (Letter of S 
di Bfiodena, Carieggio dei Principi). But his 
Venice procured his pardon and restoration t 

532 



APPENDIX I 

I>olcie mio caro e pretioso fiore, 

non ti debio io servar fino a la morte, 

e farti iin tabemaculo si forte 

che al mondo mai nisan ti spegna fuore ? 
Poi che coLei che in man tiene el mio cuore 

mi ti dond per mia benigna sorte, 

e ae indinaron sue belleze acorte 

a farmi degno alhor di tanto honore. 
Kachan le perie; e spengansi i diamanti; 

e da me lenti e fugi ogni appetite 

de haver di questo mai thesor piii degno, 
clie par del Paradiso essere nsdto. 

O me felice sopra gli altri amanti 1 

O felice quel 6i 1 felice pegno I 

Tal Dante non cant6 per Beatrice, 

nd Petrarcha per Lanra, nd CatuUo 

per Lesbia, nd per Delia il mio TibuUo, 

n^ tanto cant6 Orpheo per Euridice, 
nd tanto Ovidio per Chorina dice, 

e al mondo mai per donna cantd nullo, 

quanto io cantr6 per debito e trastuUo 

di qnesta una celeste alma fenice. 
E sna fama saglir fin sopra el delo 

faran mei versi ; ^ che la natura 

angielicha verri qoivi a mirarla ; 
e mirata e coperta d'altro velo 

la vederemo poi su repportarla. 

cantando, osanna Dio, novella e pura. 

Mentre, Madonna, gli d la et4 fiorita, 

con tanta ligiadria, tanta beUeza, 

gli sia la hnmaniti, la gientileza, 

la dementia e humiltate insieme unita. 
Perchd vi trovarete poi pentita 

haver passato el fior de gioveneza, 

e senza alchun piadere in la vechieza 

esser venuta al fin di vostra vita. 
Mentre adunqne gli d el tempo e la stagione, 

aime. Madonna, a voi mi rachogliete 

nel seno vostro e ne le braza stretto. 
"Dolde martiro e dolde passione, 

dolde mai, dolde doglia gustarete, 

havere inaieme al fin nostro diletto. 

At tlie end of the collection, tbe poet addresses Duke Bdso 

533 



APPENDIX 

himself in an extended and highly curioi 
his Excellence his amorous torments a 
protection, as to one who is " vessel, hs 
purity, and hostelry of all the virtues c 

Hor giunto in questa etk flori< 
che per el sangae calido che 
convien rhuom la persona e 
e lassar quella vita hnmile i 
del studio e di quelle opre h 
e in destreza e in faticha ad 
cominzionimi la mente alont; 
dal imparar da i libri e dal 
e venni ardito al arte milita 
£ lieto e iubilante 
tolsi in man le arme presto 
e quanto studioso 
prima a i libri era, tanto a 
che foggie ogni dl nuove en 
e a cid gran tempo io tenni 
fin che altro pensier nuovo 

Fatto el pensieri io venni a in 
mansueta, pacificha e tranqi 
nemicha de odio, di discord! 
armata di pietate e di clemi 
che goza de iracondia in se 
in cui ogni bont& se include 
dicendo enfra me stesso : Nc 
signor tanto demente e tant 
chome d questa alta iradiani 
e le arme e la choraza 
offers! al tempio del bifronte 
£ a te, signor soprano, 
venni dicendo: Io viver6 sec 
nd pit di Marte fia mio cuoi 
nd de alchun caso duro ; 
ma senza noia e senza dubio 

/ Aime, chi fa ragion si la fa ta 

a farla senza chi gli sia prof 
a fargli obietto, e che el con 
chd giunto ch'io fui sotto el 
credendo da nemichi esser loi 
e da le insidie lor, da loro ii 
pur aUor mi tiovai tra guerr 

534 



APPENDIX I 

tra mille spade, lanze, e mille strali, 

tra mille punte penetraate al cuore, 

tra tanto e gran dolore 

e colpi innumerabili mortal!, 

che mai non tanti e tali 

sentette corpo human nd sentr^ mai, 

chd una fiera crudel, selvaggia e pia, 

CO i siioi belli ochii e rai 

leg6 secho el mio cuore e 1' alma mia. 

£ se ella questi dua ne tir6 secho 
che sono i principal veri operanti 
nel corpo nostro misero e terreno, 
pensi qualunque qui quel che 6 piii mecho, 
poi che queUi ochii excels! e coruschanti 
traxeron questi del lor proprio seno, 
perchd el bel viso angielicho e sereno 
non solo ha f orza ne le humane cose 
far arder sassi e il fuocho uscir de giazo, 
e dogUa esser solazo, 
ma in le celeste incognite et ascose, 
che '1 fier Marte ripose, 
e Satumo se alegri e love imbruni ; 
e il Sol non schaldi ; e Venere non splendi ; 
e la lingua se iniuni 
Meicurio ; e Cinthia a pudidtia offendi. 

Costei ha forza sopra el gran Oupido, 
e sopra sua pharetra, archo e saette ; 
e nulla gli vale anna che egli adopri; 
chd eUa sempre 6 pid fiera, e ha U cuor piA fido 
contra i colpi de amore» e lo submette; 
e lui convien che giaza e che si chopri, 
e se egU advien che in nulla se dischopri, 
ella lo schaza, spigne e lo domina. 
Cosa inaudita et admiranda e nuova, 
che amor che ha fat to prova 
e in la natura humana e in la divina, 
si trovi hor resupina 
sua forza e suo valor contra costei, 
lui che ha vinto la terra e vinto el delo, 
e vinto homini e dei ; 
lei porti le anne, e lui sol porti el velol 

Costei mi cruda, lania, aflfligie, e snerba, 
e in d fieri tormenti ognihor me involve 
che piA liposo e gaudio d in lo Acheronte ; 

535 



APPENDIX I 

e contra me A dura e d sup 
crudele e dira e immane si d 
che non mostxossi tal love a 
nd ofichura al mondo mai se 
palida et ignea, tenebrosa e 1 
se non quando costei de ira s 
e che dal cuor suo nasde 
la cmdelUk che Ia me spigne 
B quando ella st retra 
dal cmdaimi, sto si lasso e 
che me§^o mi sarebbe un m 
che mille essere eztinto, 
e nacir di tanto afianno e ta 

Chd impossibile fia che huomo 
tanta graa doglia quanta soi 
che ognihor si charcha in m* 
e non sol snoi pungienti e n 
piova lo afflitto cuor laniatc 
tint! in lo impio venen che 
ma pitk me d a noia, duolmi 
che amore e lei coniurano a 
e armati contra me vengonc 
e una cosa d straniera* 
che defender da dui nulla s< 
e poi se amor gli inganni 
voglia oprar contra questa \ 
perde sua forza ; e me crud 
A che mal si sochorre 
cfai sol senza anne enfra du 

De che» Signor mio» excelso ii 
se probato ^ che pudicitia s 
triumphi del amor chome si 
e tu sia vaso, porto, e vera 
di pudicitia, e albergo di qi 
virtjk che ad amore obsti, i 
deh, schaza aime, Signor, c 
fiere che induchon gli homi 
nd in tuo paese sia lo albei 
e indinati, ch'io moro ; 
e qui benigno voglimi escau 
et ultra el dolcie udire 
faimi ragion de questi mei 
A ch'io possa sechnro ire ii 
che amor nd lei mi dichi 
tub mi fad spiadere, iniuria 

536 



APPENDIX I 

Canzon, tu trovarai quello alto Ducha 

che nel sangne da Este d an lume e un sole, 

e che triumpha al charro in pudidtia; 

e chiedigli iustitia 

con ornate et humiUime parole, 

chome a signor si suole, 

di tanta noia fattami e spiaciere ; 

e poi che tu harai detto, a lui te achosta 

e sta atento a vedere, 

e aspetta sua humanissima risposta. 



537 MM 



APPENDIX I 

A Selection ot Unpublished 
I 
Pope Paul II to Borso, Duke i 



DiLECTE FiLI SALUTEM, ETC. — ^McstUS 

filius Jacobus Trotus orator tuus ; et en 
ipso sentias: quod scilicet in proseque 
effitiose sese apud Nos habuerit. Certe i 
data tua executus est. Et id Nos scii 
monium perhibemus. Debes igitur tu il 
dignus est : nee eum qui de te benemeritu 
quoniam graviter peccares, si faceres. ^ 
NobOitatem tuam tarn male informavit, 
et decipitur, aut unionem odit et maligna 
nosti, Nos ab initio Pontificatus Nostri se 
conatu quesivimus unionem omnium Chr 
Italorum; ut impresentiarum enixe fa 
iuvante Deo etiam cum onere Nostro i 
huiusmodi Italorum dto condudendam i 
plane intelligent quam recte pateme et 
gredimur. Sperantes nichilominus poter 
ut communem omnium patrem atque hai 
ut matrem prout est habituros, observa 
adiuturos, simulque abunde in commune 
citum contra impiissimos hos canes Turc 
tributuros, sicuti sepenumero Nobis polKc: 
apud S. Petrum die xx Decemiris, 1470, ., 
septifno. 

(Archivio Segreto della S. Sede, 21 

538 



APPENDIX II 

II 

Pope Paid II to Borso, Duke of Fenara. 

Rome, 

July 10, 1471. 
DiLECTE FiLi SALUTEM,ETC.— Nuper in urbe Roma vulgabatur 
de tua Nobilitate nuntium admodum triste. Quod animum 
Nostrum valde angebat, et propter eam patemam caritatem, 
qua personam tuam amplectimur, et propter statum etiam tuum 
et tuonim, ac alia que pro tua pradentia potes intelligere ; 
etiam id affligebat omnes tuos benivolos, qui etsi multi tibi simt ; 
habes et Nos ut tibi patrem benivolentissimum. Verum postea 
significatum est te, Dei beneficio, periculum evasisse, ex quo 
plurimum letitie accepimus. Hortamur autem te in Domino ut 
omni studio intendas ad confirmandam valitudinem : quo et tu 
tibi et tuisconsolationiesse possis, etiam et Nobis propter Nostram 
erga te patemam benivolentiam. Ceterum misisti ad Nos donum 
locupletissimum usque adeo, sicut ei addi nichil potuisse vider- 
etur ; habemus gratias tante huiusmodi largitioni tue, sed velle- 
mus Nobiscum egisses parcius, qui etiam dona accipere non 
solemus. Velit autem ipsa Nobilitas deinceps ad Nos dona non 
mittere, nisi cum et que petierimus ; et in hunc modum animo 
desiderioque Nostro vehementer satisfacies. DcUum Rome apud 
S, Petrum die x Jidii, 1471, PotUificatus Nostri anno septimo. 
(Archivio Segreto della S. Sede, xxxix. 12, f . i75^-) 

III 
Pope Sixlus IV to Giovanni Mocenigo, Doge of Venice. 

Bracciano, 

September 19, 1481. 
DiLECTE FiLi SALUTEM, ETC. — Reddite Nobis sunt littere tue ; 
ex quibus cognovimus quanta letitia tu et civitas ista afEecti 
fueritis ob adventum dilecti filii Comitis Hieronymi nepotis 
Nostri eiusque consortis; quantoque honore eos excepentis. 
Gratissimum fuit Nobis id audisse ; tarn etsi illud idem iam 
Nobis antea persuaseramus : novimus enim semper omni in re pre- 

539 



APPENDIX I 

dpuam tuam et istius indyti Senatus e 
sinceraxn benivolentiam in omnes N< 
recognovisse letamur summopere tue< 
gratias. Nosautem versa vice animum I 
Senatum ut optimum habemus ; ita eti 
et parati sumus, si quando cognoveri 
honestate vobis complacere. Datum 
iembris, 1481, PanHficatus Nostri anno t* 
(Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, Co 

IV 
Pope Sixius IV to Giovanni Mocet 

R 

DiLECTE FlU SALUTEM, ETC.— Accef 

ultima octobris, quibus Nobis de reditu T 
mitate gratularis. Est id Nobis gra 
enim ex precipuo tuo in Nos amore 
agimus tibi gratias ; et non minores pr< 
egit in seditione proxima Forliviense, 
Nobis fuerunt ut nihil addi posset: in qi 
omnes perpetue et constantis benivolei 
perta, clarissimis aigumentis ostendit 
Hieronymo presenti declarasti, nam pn 
per litterassuas ipse etiam sermone suo i 
cutus est de summis honoribus a te ei 
petuo tibi debebit. Quantum actinet '< 
Nostro impensum per Nos dilecto filic 
apud Nos tuo, maiora iUe fecit litteris 
merebatur quam pro tempore et locis 
potuerint ; sed pro sua modestia alitc 
vir singulari humanitate et preditus, qui 
tia et fide procurat ut maiori non p( 
satisfactione. Cui Nos et tua contem 
mentis smnme affidmur. Datum Rom 
1481, Pontificatus Nostri anno undecesi 
(Ibid., ff. 95, 93 

540 



APPENDIX II 

V 

Lt€aa Pasi^ deUo U Faentino^ to Duke Ercole of Ferrara. 

Rome, 

November i6, 1481. 
ILL*™ Princeps et Ex*" Domine, etc. — 

L^o iixil>assatore di Vostra Excellentia inseme cum quelli di la 
Liga. se paxtireno di qua a' xiv di questo per andare verso Napoli. 
Credo V~ 111™ Sig^* essere stata advisata da D. Christoforo suo 
oratore * quanto la Santiti del Nostro Signore habia deto et 
dolutese di V* Sig^ per le noviU di Forli, spinto perhd dal 
Conte Hieron5mio; il quale tuttavia insta di t3n:are il nostro 
Signore a. nove trame. Ma credo che li seri difficile, benchd Sua 
Santit^ se mostri cusi bruscho nel parlare ; et tanto meno anchora 
quando ser^ venuto il Cardinale di Santo Petro ad Vincula ; il 
quale expectamo qua di proximo. Non scio se V™ 111"* Sig^ ha 
inteso a. questi giomi passati di una certa rugine et difiidentia 
sorta tra.'l S. Duca di Urbino et il Conte Hieronymo ; il quale ha 
facto grsLTifle instantia de rimovere di qua D. Pietro Felice, im- 
bassatore del prefato Duca ; il quale perhd non I'ha voluto rimo- 
vere. Intendo anchora tramarse parentela tra'l Signore di 
Arimino et il Conte per la mezenit^ de uno suo nipoteetsorella 
del prefato Signore. Altro al presente non c'd di novo. Bene 
valeat 111"^ D**** V", a la quale di continuo mi raconunando. 
Rome, xvi NovethMs, 1481. 
E.V.I11°^D. 
Servulus Lucas Paventinus prothonotarius. 
(R. Arcliivio di Stato in Modena, Carteggio degU Ambasciaton-^ 

Roma.) 

VI 

Pope Sixius IV to Duke Ercole of Ferrara. 

Rome, 

AprU 18, 1482. 
"DitECTE FiLi SALUTEM, ETC.— Scit Nobilitas tua que ad te 
sTip>erioribus diebus scripserimus, que oratori tuo totiens sig- 
^ i.e. Cristofoio de' Bianchi. 



APPENDIX II 

nificanda commisimuSy ut sublata de m 

pace et amicitia cum Venetis perseven 

fecerunt. Id ut tibi peisuaderemus, e 

rationes : Italic quies, quam propter ] 

incommodum quod civitati isti Nostre 

Nostra erga te caritas, quern nuUo hello 

quidem potentissimis, implicari cupieba 

modo processerint, nemo est qui te n 

unum certe scimus, si patemis monitis ^ 

atum, alio in loco res esset ; et tamen i 

temus etiam per presentes ad idem te hoi 

suadentes, ut deposita penitus omni < 

humaniter et benigne te cum Venetis p 

initio tibi significavimus ; belli consilia c 

nisi pemitiosa tibi et toti Italie esse, m 

communem hostem Turcum magnam c 

ipsam comparare, quam si inter se c 

cui dubium quin parvo negocio ea qu 

Nam licet res in eo statu non sint in qu 

hoc salutare opus te monuimus, tamei 

longe maiora ex humanitate quam a< 

cuturus sis; ad quos pariter quoque s 

etc. die xviii Aprilis, 1482, Poniificatus 

(Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, C 



VII 
Duke Ercole of Ferrara to the 

ROCCA 

Sul hora del disinare hozi ^ gionto 
Mantua, et siamo stati insieme sua S 
S. Duca de Urbino e questi altri conduc 
in tale dispositione et termini che hab 
victoria. 

Li galioni sono anche gionti et sono 

542 



APPENDIX II 

miglio, quali habiamo visti, et sono belli et bene fomiti et a 
numero sono xi et uno gatto. 

t HsLvemo facto tribulare Tarmata inimica hozi doppo disinare 
cum qiielli cinque passavolanti die sono venuti da Ferrara ; in 
modo die la se ne d ritirata denanti da gli ochii et d descesa 
gioso disotto da la Puncta un gran pezo, et non credemo che la se 
aproximi in qua de questi dui zomi per il gran danno se gli 
^ facto, et stimeno che molti homini de loro siano sta guasti et 
cusi xmSL galea et molte bardie et fuste per assai colpi che le 
colseno et investiteno. Cusi pregiamo Dio succeda ogni zomo, 
come sF»eremo che f ar^ de bene in meglio, et de questa zomata 
sapiarxxo che non se ne hanno a laudare. 

Domane parendo cusi ad ill"*® S. Duca de Urbino se trova- 
remo a. cena a Ferrara, per che non ni d parso per hozi partirsi di 

qua. 

Per I>io mandati victuaglia in abundantia et presto, che cusi 

bisogns.. 

Ex Rocha Potenti, xxiv Maij, 1482/ 
(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Carteggio dei Principi.) 



VIII. 
Pope Sixius IV to the Duke of Lorraine. 

Rome, 
November 4, 1482. 
I>II,ECTE FiLi SALUTEM, ETC. — ^Ducale Dominium Venetorum 
mittet ad Nobihtatem tuam quemdam secretarium suum, qui 
tain N^ostro quam eorum nomine nonnulla tibi exponet, honorem 
et iitilitatem non mediocrem ipsi tue NobiUtati allatura ; super 
atiil>^^is bortamur plenam ei fidem velis adhibere. Daium Rome 
etc. die iv Novembris, 1482, PorUificatus Nosiri anno duodecesimo. 
(AX'chivio Segreto della S. Sede, xxxix. 15, f. 175.) 

X On- **^® previous day. May 33, Ercole had written to Leonora that that 
^^jjg tlie enemy's anny had come to Fi«trolo, and that the fleet, armaia, 
™^5^^eseiitata a la Puncta dePicaiDlo"bot had gone no further. Rocca 
pSentc was near Stellata. 

543 



APPENDIX 

IX 

Pope Sixtus IV to Duke En 



DiLECTE Flu SALUTEM, ETC. — Fuin 

servande studiosi, et si quando humani 
aliena culpa ad arma deventum est, sts 
cura ad illorum sedationem consilia N 
nunc eo diligentius procuravimus, tuo 
stanti periculo admoniti. Nam et Nol 
gratia benivole prosequimur, et civitat 
devastationes, ac novissimam obsidione 
molesto animo perferimus ; et sicut, pac 
tatibus et Nobis sancte pads vinculo 
auxiliis providere cogitavimus, ita etiaj 
virum lohannem Mocenigo Ducem Veri 
tras hortati sumus, ut ob Nostram et Sec 
cuius loca leduntur et impugnantur, al 
ipsam Nobiscum, restitutis hinc inde a 
tibi ac Sancte Romane Ecclesie de cet 
desideramus eius prudentiam iustitie 
Ut autem interim salubrius ac firmioi 
latur, dilectum filium Nostrum Franci 
diaconum Cardinalem legatum Nostnir 
destinandum, ut te et populos Nostro 
ac spiritualibus et temporalibus favor 
extent, promptius iuvare et reintegrs 
possit. Amplectere, dilecte fill, bono t 
Nostram, que quantum vires et auctori 
patietur ut corruas. Audiet ipsum 1 
arcana Nostri pectoris ex eo cognosces \ 
ac reintegrationem tuam omnibus oi 
salus a Domino, et non prevalebunt ii 
iniquitatem. Datum Rome etc. die xi 
ficatus Nostri anno duodecesimo. 

(Ibid,,ff. 246, z 

544 



APPENDIX II 



Pope Sixlus IV to the Citizens and People of Ferrara, 

Rome, 

December 13, 1482. 

i:>ii-ECTi FiLii SALUTEM, ETC. — ^Excepimus gravi animi Nostri 

molestia que proximis diebus de civitatis et comitatus Nostri 

Ferraxiensis incommodis et imminenti nunc obsidione renun- 

tiata, sunt ; ac statim ut ingruentibus periculis occurreremus, 

adinxictis Nobis in vinculo sancte pacis aliis Italie potentatibus, 

bortati sumus etiam dilectum filium nobilem virum lohannem 

Mocenig^o Ducem Venetiarum, ut ab armis et impugnatione 

dicte civitatis Nostre desistat, et pacem banc Nobiscum resti- 

tutis liinc inde ablatis amplectatur ; in quo desideramus eius 

prudentiam patemis monitis Nostris et iustitie simul ac hones- 

tati acqiiiescere. Illud tamen in presenti rerum periculo Nos 

maxiine consolatur ac recreat, quod et potentatum clarissime 

Lige Italice validissime vires continua subsidia sumministrant, 

et fideles animos vestros et in omne excidium paratos pro salute 

dilecti filii nobilis viri Herculis Ducis vestri audivimus ; in quo 

fideixi et devotionem vestram benedicimus, et in Domino pluri- 

mum commendamus. Nos quoque qui ad summittenda tarn 

spixitualia quam temporalia auxilia, si opus fuerit, toto afFectu 

<x>g^taiiiiis, et ea omnia propediem iuxta rerum exigentiam 

explicabimus, destinandum interim ad partes istas, et precipue 

ad civitatem ipsam Nostram Ferrariensem, duximus dilectum 

filiixxn Nostrum Franciscum Sancte Marie Nove diaconum 

Caxdinalem legatum Nostrum; qui Ducem, civitatem, et vos 

omxies Apostolice auctoritatis dipeo defendat, ac reintegrationi 

sta.tuts dicti Duds Ferrariensis intendat ; intelligantque omnes 

Nos ipsum Ducem in peculiarem et amantissimum filium, et vos 

d.evotos Sedis Apostolice habere ac protectionis Nostre suffragiis 

stdiuvandos, que omnia latins in ipsius Cardinalis adventu 

oognoscetis. Monemus vos, dilecti filii, et hortamur in Domino, 

ixt: bono animo sitis, et quod ad vos spectat de servanda Nobis 

Romane Ecclesie et Duci vestro dvitate fidelibus et con- 

545 



APPENDIX II 

stantibus animis cogitetis ; in quo vos 
Nobis reddetis. Datum tU supra. 

(Ibid., ff. 245, 246.) 



XI 

Pope Sixtus IV to the People i 

Re 

DiLECTi FiLii SALUTEM, ETC. — Destina^ 
et precipue ad civitatem Nostram Ferrarie 
Nostram Franciscum Sancte Marie Nove 
legatum Nostrum ; ut sicut Nos, unitis hi< 
sancte pacis clarissimeLige Italicepotentat 
tionem et stabilitatem universalem, dik 
virum lohannem Mocenigo Ducem Venet 
ut ab impugnatione dicte civitatis Nosti 
nobilis viri Herculis Ducis Ferrariensis se n 
pacem Nobiscum amplectatur et capta rest 
pro pnidentia sua pacificationi omnium in 
potent, consulat et intendat ; et si hostiui 
omnibus Ecclesie Romane viribus ad il 
captorum recuperationem una cum die 
studiosissime insistat. Nos enim pro ofii 
auxilium Nostrum implorantis protectior 
posuimus, ut pro eius salute et status su 
amantissime facturi simus. Hortamur 
vestro fidem et devotionem debitas impe 
vestre consuletis, et Nostram ac Sedis Ap 
et gratiam maximam consequemini. Da 
Decembris, 1482, PonHficaius Nostri anno 

Simile Populo Mutinens 

(Ibid., £E. 252, 253.) 

546 



APPENDIX II 

XII 

Pope Sixtus IV to Duke Ercole of Ferrara. 

Rome, 

September 17, 1483. 
IDiLECTE FiLi SALUTEM, ETC. — ^Vidimus que ad Nos scripsit 
Nobilitas tua de invasione Stellate, et quomodo cum tuis qui in 
promptu erant illam e manibus hostium recuperaveris, quo fit 
ut sicuti ex periculi magnitudine commoti fuittius, ita vehementer 
simus letati de virtute tua et victoria subsecuta. Rem igitur 
banc non negligendam existimantes, sicuti eam semper cordi 
habiiimus, denuo ad confederates Nostros efiicacissime scripsimus, 
monentes et instantes, ut gentes necessarias ad te mittantur, 
sicuti per Ducem Calabrie ordinatum est ; idque quam primum 
fiat considerata periculi magnitudine, dum tempus idoneum 
superest. Monuimus in hoc Comitem Hieronymum, Duci Medio- 
lani scripsimus, ut pedites iUos mittat, et de stipendio tam tibi 
quaixi vicario Nostro Faventino provideat ; idem Florentinis, de 
his que attinent ad stipendimn. Prefecto mandavimus ut 
statim cum suis gentibus equitet. Ducem quoque Calabrie de 
hoc admonuimus, et Regem hortati sumus, ut hos omnes incitet 
ad celeriter et in tempore omnia subministrandum. Speramus 
Deo adiutore omnia bene successura. Tu modo ut facis studio et 
vigilantia tua non desis, et si aliquid faciendum videatur ulterius 
Nobis significes, nam nihil omittemus quod per Nos fieri potent. 
Datum Rome, etc,, die xvii Septembris, 1483, PorUificaius NosM 
anno dedmo tertio, 

(Ibid., xxxix. 16, ff. 22», 23.) 



XIII 

Pope Sixtus IV to Count Girolamo Riario. 

Rome, 

September 17, 1483. 
IDii-ECTE FiLi SALUTEM, ETC.— Scit NobiHtas tua ordinem datum 
a Xhice Calabrie de gentibus ad presidium Ferrarie coUocandis • 
et quoniam in ea omne periculum vertitur, et nihil animo Nostro 

547 



I 



APPENDIX II 

magis insidet quam quomodo illius defe 
intendatur^ ccmquiescere non possimns 
fuerit, ut timere amplius hostium impel 
Movet Nos periculum ingens in quo pro 
parum abfuit quin ab hostibus caperetui 
hostes, nisi Dux Ferrarie celeri subsidic 
pugnata de Ferraria actum videri potera 
quamprimum curet, ut ordo iUe mittendi 
cutioni demandetur absque aliqua mora 
efficacissime scribat, ut stipendium quoc 
ipsum debetur mittat statim, sine quo 
suoram uti aut eos instruere, et rebus i 
et pedites quos debet propere mittat ; pen 
vicario Nostro Faventino, ut cum suis ill 
et necessaria auxilia prebere possit. N 
ad omnes confederatosNostros oportune s< 
sit res demonstramus, et nisi in tempc 
postea fortasse non poterunt. Prefecto 
vimus, ut statim cum gentibus suis illuc e 
suas mittat. Nam vix scribere possem 
Nos angat et stimulet : nee immerito, 
siones fiant, in magno periculo res ille coi 
supra. 

(Ibid., ff. 23, 23V, 

XIV 
Buanfrancesco ArloUi to Duke E\ 



III"** et Ex"** mio Signore, — 

A' X de questo per el cavallaro de V^ 
lettera vostra de' vii in substantia de ad 
variety, repentine et voluntarose, achadu 
dl a r altro sopra le condictione ricorc 
Foratore vostro, et demmn li era la supplii 
fare al Papa per riparo et adiuto piii che f us 

548 



APPENDIX II 

T3. qtisi lettera ben studiando et ruminando, ecco in quella mede- 
siraa. bora de la vostra, sopravene una comune a noi oratori da 
auilli Sigiiori de campo, pur de' vii como la vostra, de adviso de la 
^^CfG^ condusa et stipulata como videri V" Ex*** per la indusa 
copi^ ; et subito fuo posto ordine de andare la matina acomuni- 
csltIb- cum la SantitA de Nostro Signore, per chb quest' hora de la 
v-entita de le prefate lettere era tarda circa le xxiv. La 
ixiatina. io antecipai et fuo a pallatio dal Cardinale de S*^ Georgio 
^4^ttxt%xdcQ^do la prefata lettera et repetendo de Faltre prima 
recseVTite, le quale sua S"^ R°* volse legere et ben intendere, 
et x'a^oi^^toli di sopra lungamente, confessando de continuo 
ncc p3^c^^ d^ Nostro Signore et suo la ignominia haveva questat 
P^ace, et torto vi era facto et la displicentia ne recevevano, dicencLo 
elxe la. veritA era questa, che la Santit^ de Nostro Signore aon. 
potria essere meglio disposta como era anche stata per d passato 
SL f a-vorire le cose vostre, ma che'l se poteva dire che questa cosa. 
gli fusse stata tolta fuora di mano, et altri havessino voluto f az-e 
al svLO modo cum puoco rispecto de Sua Santiti et del Conte, e-t 
clop>o li era stata portata a tempo et cum modo, quando non. 
potevano fare altro, et che ben si era cognosciuto il tutto, et che'l 
S- I-riadovico haveva voluto cussi, et lo ill"° S. Duca de Calabria, 
eonsentito, U quali erano Signori dd campo, et bisognava havere 
pacientia : Hora mo che venuta questa lettera de la condusion^ 
de la. pace, essendoU intervenuto Mess. Jacobo Trotto ^ cum el 
maxidato, rasonevole cosa d che'l debato de quelli capitulisporti 
per Mess. Jacobo nd suo memoriale habia preso asexto tra loro ; sS^ 
clie non bisogna per hora fare altra instantia cum d Papa el 
Quale ^ molto indisposto, et basteri che'l se lega la lettera comune 
de la- pace ; presto haveriti anche vui dal vostro Signore adviso 
coxno liabia facto Mess. Jacobo de queste condictione che erano 
in del>ato, et sempre se puoteri scrivere per d Papa, quando 
se intenda meglio, die a punctamento U sia stato facto etc. Et: 
in cxxxesto ragionamento sopragiunsino Taltri oratori, et rasonato 
che se fu^ ^^ pocheto cum sua R"" S^ de questa pace se trans- 
f erissix*^® ali p«Ji de la Beatitudine de Nostro Signore, admonendo- 

1 Tacopo Trotti acted as plenipotentiary for the Doke of Ferrara at 
^^ Oongr€^ of Bagnolo. 

649 



APPENDIX II 

ne prima S. S"** R"* che se sforzassimo 
dispositione del Papa, che in vero h molto s 

Presentati al conspecto di Sua SantitlL f i 
qual como ho dicto qui inclusa ser^ la • 
senza troppo ciremonia, el Papa dixe : 
como el contento ? Alhora Mess. Annel 
palpitando rispose,che questo medesimo a 
Maestiet che non sapeva che dire, se nor 
intrevenuto el Duca de Calabria, sperava f i 
CoUigati. Similmente domandd a Mess. Z< 
Milano, como se contentava. Lui respose 
a SuaBeatitudine la necessity era quella li 1 
et elligere questa parte de la pace, de la < 
men malo. Tertio anche dimandete al Fie 
che'l se remetteva, et del facto et de la < 
Signori, da li quali non haveva advise alcu 
verso me, dicendo : Et el Duca de Ferrari 
de questa pace ? lo respose : Beatissime 
dimandare de la sua contenteza, per ch^ Vc 
ben informata, et de novo Sua Ex*** lo 
malissimo contento, et sforzatamente li 
stata facta iniuria ne li modi tenuti nel p 
che debba perdere el suo, abandonato da 
capituli et instrumenti privati et publici 
benchd la fede, constantia et pacientia su^ 
insino qui, faciano altri come se voghano, 1 
et procedere unitamente in omne cosa cum 
facto per el passato, et cussl quando loro vc 
a lui, 6 forza stare paciente, et se lo ^ vero < 
consentito cum mandato et voluntate < 
niuno debbe perd credere che quello Sigi 
consent! al preiudicio manifesto del h< 
tuttavia coacta voluntas, voluntas est, etc, 

Olduto che n'hebbe Sua Santiti tutti, c 
la grande prudentia de la Maestd. del Re, 
Fiorentini et Duca de Ferrara, la experie 
Duchi de Calabria et Bari, quali sonno in fa 

550 



APPENDIX II 

hano facto questa pace^consentito et iudicato essere la meglior 
parte ; Nui, che non havemo tanta pnidentia et men experientia, 
li volemo seguire et conformarse cum loro, et piacene quello che 
a loro place, como havemo facto ne la guerra ; la qual cum tanta 
nostra spesa havemo proseguito per salvare Ferrara et compia- 
cere a la Maest^ del Re et Taltri Colligati, et cussi eramo apt! a 
perseverare. Ben ne dole, che non li sia pid contento et satis- 
faction del Duca, de Ferrara, ma possa che'l pare a chi hapraticato 
questa cosa essere cossi necessario et non potere fare altramente, 
Nui inseme cum quello Signore haveremo pacientia, et iudicaremo 
omne cosa essere per lo megho permessadaMess.Domenedio,aquo 
omnia bona et nulla mala. Et cum queste parole se levassimo 
da li santi pedi de Sua Beatitudine. 

Signore : o fusse per la indispositione, o pur per che la materia 

non li fusse grata (che la indispositione ho veduto altre volte 

superarla) non mostrd mai Sua Santiti nd in parole nd in gesti 

signo de piacere alcuno, anci de dispiacere, et remanendo mi 

drieto, me dimandd Sua Santiti stessa et dixe vi confortasse 

per sua parte havere bona pacientia, et che considerate la deliber- 

atione et f ermeza d'altri in questa parte V" Ex*^ se seria trovata 

sola et f orse mal tractata, et pur che sia salva Ferrara el tempo 

porta cum se novi remedii et partiti. lo rispose che per parte 

vostra ringratiava Sua Beatitudine et basavagli li pedi de questa 

sua bona, voluntd. et compassione vi portava, et che se hebbe 

mai lettere de desperatione et mala contenteza de V* Ex*** 

erano queste ultime mandate a posta per un cavallaro, per che 

cum omTie summissione et prostrattione ali suoi santi pedi lo 

raccoiua^^^^ per che, havendo a lassare el Polesene ben contra 

sua voglia, al men li fussin acceptati alcuni capituli sporti per el 

sue oratore in campo, sopra de H quah senza vergogna quelli che 

-fano P®^ Venetiani hano variati da un di a Taltro. Alhora Sua 

"Beatitudine me interrumpi, dicendo : Non dire piii, che per 

- u^^^i-e del Tolentino* et de Toratore de Milano ho inteso el tutto, 

^ a <iopp<> ^^^ ^ess. Jacobo Trotto ha consentito debbeno essere 

ti <i'ax:cordio. lo dixe : Pater Sancte, et per la indispositione 

^ Giovanni Francesco da Tolentino, the papal plenipotentiary at the 

551 



APPENDIX II 

et per il ricordo del Camerlengo sum cont 

dare molestia a la Santiti Vostra ; ma nor 

questa lettera comune, che ben se li dica L 

TroUoperlo HT" S. Duca de Ferrara, ho 

conseniendOy et im altra cosa, che ne la 

Mess. Jacoho TroUo ; cosa non ho voluto 

altri, ma ne resto tutto suspeso sino ha 

anchela mia lettera h de' vii, como an< 

qiiesto poteria acchadere per la distan 

Ferrara* Et cmn queste parole me lei 

la quale possa stavo a Roma non me pan 

facia. Et in gratia de V** lU™* S™ n 

xii AugusHf 1484. 

E. V. Ill"* D.D., 

Sen 

(outside) 111"** P. et Ex"^ ly^ D. Hercul 

D~ meo colen"*. Ferrarie. 
(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Cc 

tori— Rama.) 



XV 

Duke Ercole of Ferrara to the Cardt 



Dux Ferrariae, etc.— Rev"** et UP 
simo D°® Hippol5^o Cardinali Estensi e1 

Voi doveti credere che, amandovi come 
Padre, stamo continuamente in desideri 
di faciati maiore profecto in boni costi 
che se apertengono ad uno che sia nostr' 
digniti del cardinalato come haveti voi, 1; 
mente ricercha religione et doctrina, el 

1 i.e. Biofldem Vestre lUustrisaime Domi 
Bonf ranciscus Episcopus Regienais. 



APPENDIX II 

^rte non po essere reputato digno nd bono Cardinale. Unde 

ben che tkor roai siti de tanto intellecto, che da voi medesimo ve 

aover«td^ excitare ; tutavia sapendo noi, forsi meglio che non 

credeti, li modi vostri et come spendeti il vostro tempo : perch^ 

da alcimi xxiesi in qua ne havemo havuto pur qualche noticia, che 

non po essere non ni habia dato displicentia ; ni ^ parso per 

questa nostra patemamente racordarve et admonirve, che 

debiati <3aspensare il tempo vostro in modo che ni acquistiati 

reputa-tione et laude, et non il contrario. Et credemo che sereti 

molto la.ia<lato se prima, non solamente ogni die direti rofficio 

a le soe Ixore debite et attentamente, ma etiam fareti che altri 

sapian.0 eli vedano, che cussi lo diceti ordinatamente. II medesimo 

dicemo, olie vi redundaii in gloria, se ogni die attendereti a 

studiare et intendere qualche bona et digna lectione, et se anche 

ve ex^roitaxeti et accommodareti in dire et scrivere con qualche 

elegaxxtiia, in Lingua Latina, perch^ il culto divino et la doctrina 

con li 1>oni exempli di la vita sono li precipui omamenti de uno 

Cardinale, et fundamenti da conseguire cidche honestamente se 

desicier^a. ; et rendemosse certi che, dispartendo il tempo in queste 

cose, il ^ve ni avanzari tanto, che anche ve potereti pigliare de li 

piaceri lionesti, et in casa et a la campagna, che ricercha la et^ 

vostrs.. Ma come d dicto, quando prima se attende a le prime doe 

principale cose, il se ne acquista tante laude et honore, che anche 

le altre cose non possono essere se non commendate ; et teneti 

ino per indubitato, che se temereti Dio, et I'havereti denanti a li 

ocKi, tute le cose vostre ve prosperarano ; et quando ve lo 

<iomeiiticareti, il se domenticar^ de voi, et niuno vostro desiderio 

ve poterA succedere ; ni ve vedereti mai contento. Si che ve 

eTdiortajno et pregamo, che per vostro proprio bene et honore, et 

per nostra singulare consolatione, attendiati a le virtude nel modo 

clxe liavemo dicto : et per ogni altra via megliore ; che bene 

s3.pemo se voreti non vi mancharano boni coadiutori a dire bene 

l'c>fficio, et anche preceptori de bone lettere et doctrina. Cussi 

±SL±ti come speremo in voi, che sempre da Noi siati benedecto. 

:Noi, per Dio gratia, siamo tuti sani, et il simile de voi desi- 
cloramoj 

Xx> S vero che lo ill"° Don Alfonso vostro fratello a questi die, 

553 NN 



APPENDIX II 

essendo a Hilano, se infirmete de alcune f < 

condure qui in nave dove lo i xnegliorato i 

Ferrariae, xii Augusti, 149 

N.] 

(outside) Rev^ et ill°*^ D™': filio nosl 

Hip : Sancte Lutie in Silice Cai 

(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Car 

XVI 

Isabella cP Este Gonxaga to Duke Et 

1 

Ill"° et Ex"*** Signor mid Padre, 

li figlioli de quondam S. Messer Nice 
exposto havere inteso che la lU"* Sig^ \ 
done ha anche cassa la provisione che per 
li anni passati, la quale era tutta la substai 
non havere altra f aculti ; et cum molte p 
li raccommandi a V™ Ex***. lo che li 
miseria non ho saputo negarli questa mia 
pifl posso ge li raccommando, supplicando] 
voglia lassarli correre la provisione sua : < 
magiore elimosina ; et io Thaverd de si 
111°** Sig^ a la quale me raccommando. 
Mantue, xviii Aprilis, 1497. 
Ill°>« D.V. 

FUia Isabella Marchioni 

(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Cancel! 

Isabella d* Este Gonzagt 

XVII 
Duke Ercole of Ferrara to Don 1 



Dux Ferrariae, etc.— Ill"** et Rev^ 
Julio Estensi : Salutem. Per una vostrs 

554 



APPENDIX II 

UsLvema inteso le visitatione facte per voi al 111"** et Rev"^ Mans' 
Vicecancellero,^ et al Rev"*° Mons' San Severino. II tuto 
ni ^ molto piaciuto, et ve ne commendiamo grandemente, strin- 
gendovi ad govemarvi cum discretione et pradentia in ogni loco 
et temjx), et cum ogni persona ; et al stare assiduamente a la 
presentia del Rev°***Monsignor nostro figliolo : chd cussi facendo 
ni conseg^reti commendatione et honore.' Et bene valete. 
Adriani, vii Januarii, 1498. 
Thebaldus 
(outside) 111°^ et rev** filio nostro aman"*** D°^ Julio Estensi, 
Romae. 
(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Carteggio dei Prindpi.) 



XVIII 
L>%^ke Ercole of Fenara to Don Fenando £ Este. 

Ferrara, 

April 19, 1499- 

Dux Ferrariae, etc.— Ill"*** filio nostro aman"^ D°° Ferdin- 
ando Estensi. 

In questa nostra andata a Venesia, havemo dato il laudo et 
sententia sopra le differentie de Pisa per il modo che dovereti 
havere veduto per la copia de epso laudo ; la quale a questa hora 
doveti liavere havuta per la via de Messer Manfredo nostro 
oratore a Fiorenza. Et veramente in questa praticha de accordo 
et cu.ssi nel sententiare, se siamo sforzati de fare tuto quello bene- 
ficio clie havemo potuto a quella magnifica comunitA de Pisa : 
si per reverentia de la Iir* Sig^ de Venesia che Thavea in 

^ Xlxe Cardinal Ascanio Sforza. 

* In the light of after events, this bidding Giulio be assiduous in attend- 
ing -upon the Cardinal Ippolito is invested with a sort of horror. In a 
letter to his father, dated January 13, 1503. IppoUto assures his Excel- 
lence that he need not remind him to keep a look out for Giulio's in- 
terests at the Papal Court, because he always cares for them as though 
t^liey were his own : " Persuadasi Quella che ne le cose del S. Don Julio 
xxon vegio meno che ne le mie proprie " [R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, 
C^€^rteggio dei Prindpi). 

555 



APPENDIX II 

protectione, si etiam per lo amore et be 

havemo portato et portamo ad epsi Pisani 

tenevemo de la pace et quiete de quella c 

Italia. Et se bene epsi Pisani se sono fc 

parte de epso nostro laudo : non dubita 

bene il tuto, doverano restare ben satis 

CQgnoscerano, che havemo havuto condign^ 

et cussi etiam per lo advemre non mat 

beneficio et favore. Et se havessimo poti 

et commodo, Thavessimo facto molto vob 

sta necessario far talmente, che lo eSecto 

seguire. Et siamo in pensiero de mandai 

li a Pisa a parlare a quelli Mag^ Antiani 

a le cose che se hanno a fare, cum riposo 

le parte ; et cussi potereti far intendere qu 

a sue Magnificentie. Et bene valete. 

Ferrariae, xix Aprilis, i^ 
Thebaldus. 
(outside) Illu. filio nostro aman™^ D"^ Fei 
subito. 
(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Car 



XIX 
Isabella £ Este Gonzaga to Duke E 



III"** Signore, mid Padre obser''^ 

Non posso fare, si per lo amore che porto 
ill. Messer Nicold da Este, come per il 
non piglij la protectione sua presso Vosti 
mandando loro a quella Philippo Marche 
f arU reverentia, et farli intendere il bisogi 
digni haverli raccommandati, et ad prestj 
epso Philippo ; perchd omne beneficio, ch 
feriri in li prefati figUoli, haverd tanto ace 

556 



APPENDIX II 

a oontiribixirlo in me propria. Et reputaroUo a singular gratia 
da V** Ex***, a la quale sempre me raccommando. 

Mantue, xiv Maij, 1499. 
lU"" I>.V. 

Filia Isabella Marchionissa Mantue, etc. 
(R.. Aj-cliivio di State in Modena, Cancelleria Ducale, LeUere di 

Isabella d' Este Gonzaga.) 

XX 

I^td^k^ Ercole of Ferrara to the Cardinal IppolUo d* Este, 

Ferrara, 
August 19, 1499. 
Dux: Ferrariae, etc.— 111™° et Rev"° d°° filio nostro aman""" 
j^no H;yp>pK>lito Sancte Lutie in Silice Diacono Cardinali Estensi, 
etc. SaJutem. 

Ha-veino inteso per diverse vie, cum la maiore displicentia del 

mondo, clie la S*** V" se ha facto fare le arme bianche a fine de 

a.rmax'se et de ingerirse in cose belliche et seve ; che non facil- 

mexi'te li.a.veressimo creduto, per essere alienissimo da la dignity 

et prof essione vostra, se da una persona sola il ni fosse stato 

sig^iii£Loa.to ; ma lo h tanto notorio che non lo volere credere seria 

grajxde apK>cagine et obstinatione. Havemo infin qui dissimu- 

laxido "taciuto cum la S*** V* molte cose, che grandemente ne 

offeixdevano, per non li vedere molto pericolo : imputando et 

adscriverKio tuta la colpa al aetii, et sperando che, crescendo li 

axmiy dovesse crescere in lei il timore de Dio (da la cui dementia 

1'h.a recevuti tanti benefidj), la gravity et modestia ecdesiastica : 

cio & conveniente ali pari vostri. Ma restamo assai decepti de 

<|ixes±3. nostra opinione : vedendo la S^ V" fare pegio et piii 

piiblicamente che la non ha facto in, si n qui. Et perchd hora 

cognoscemo che la d m evidente pericolo dd stato et conditione 

soa, xxon ni h parse de tacere piii ultra nd di potere piil dissimu- 

lare- !Perd considerate che lo armegiare vestro non po fare 

alo^n tK>no fructo : ma bene vi po fare irregulare et digno di 

depositione, et privarvi de la dignity et beneficij : vi exhortamo, 

atringemo, et se alcuna auctorit^ patema ni d restata in la S"* 

557 



APPENDIX II 

V*, vi commandiamo, che debiati d 
armigere, et attendere a vivere da bon 
rev™* Cardinale ; et se f orsi vi fosse persua 
havesse a dare la victoria alo 111™® S. Due 
beneficio, teneti per certo che tale persua 
et manco la S°* V* ; perchdl vostro arme 
Signor Dio ; et il provocaria ad ira et ii 
contraria a la parte per la quale voi portas 
aiutare il prefato Ex°*** S. Duca, come tu 
la S"** V* Tofficio suo : pregM Nostro S 
et victoria de Soa Ex*" et de li exerciti 
supplicarli per tuti li religiosi et derici secu 
intervenga lei a dicte oratione, come d s 
missione. Queste serano bone arme bis 
de irregularity et cum grande merito. An 
mortale, et digno di excommunicatione 
fosse morto qualchuno seresti irregulare 
simplici chierid de veniie a tale acto, s< 
necessaria di la soa persona quando foss< 
et non potessero altramente campare ne 
lidto ad uno cardinale et archiepiscopo. 
che ogni picolo disfavore che havesti a 
come facilmente poteria accadere, faria i 
maiore, ultra la infamia et macula ind 
heresti, et il pericolo de la vita vostra o de 
membro. Temeti adonca Nostro Signoi 
li soi beneficij ; et ricordativi, che se i 
soi, et se non li sereti grato, vi far^ cum 
recognoscere lo errore vostro. Et se li 
vostro non meriti misericordia, come noi 
essere pur tropo fuora de la f ede et ReUg 
pegio. Examinati bene la consdentia vo 
tione nostre, le quale sole doveriano ba< 
debito di fami cosa grata, non vi movenc 
Dio, dd damno grande, dd pericolo, 
drizi a la bona via ; alo 111°^ S. Duca non 
de aiutare Soa £x^ in le fatiche, in li < 

558 



APPENDIX II 

cose sue tanto quanto se extende la auctoriti et potesti vostra ; 
perchd la. S*^* V™ ni h debitrice per li grandissimi benefidj da 
Soa Ex*^ recevuti, ultra la strectissima coniunctione, lassando 
Varxne ali secalari. Cussi facendo satisfareti in quella parte che 
potereti al debito vostro verso Soa Celsitudine, et non offendereti 
Nostro Signer Idio ; a Nui fareti cosa gratissima et da ogni uno 
sereti cominendato. Et bene valeat R°* Do. V*. 
Ferrariae, xix Augusti, 1499. 
Thebaldus. 
(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Carteggio dei Principi.) 

XXI 
Duke Ercole of Ferrara to BeUrando CostabUi. 

COMACCHIO, 

October 5, 1500. 
Reverende dilectissime noster, — 

II S. Messer Zoanne Bentivoglio per uno suo cancellero ni ha 

conununicato havere adviso de bon loco, come il duca Valentino, 

il quale se prepara per venire a li danni de li Signori de Pesaro, 

Arimino, et FaeiM5a, vole etiamdio venire a li danni de sua S"* per 

insignorirse de Bologna, come de le predicte citade : cosa che non 

credemo gli sia per reuscire, essendo sta renovata la protectione 

de la MLaestk Christianissima questa estate proxima passata al 

prefato S. M^ Zoanne et a' Bolognesi. Tutavia sua S**" per 

havere tuta la sua speranza in la prefata Maesti et in li Sig^ 

Lxjcoteixenti Regii, et per ricordo nostro, faril ricorso a sue M** 

et Sig^* P^^ essere conservato et defeso in casa sua, come h molto 

ben conveniente. Cognoscemo questa impresa essere di grandis- 

simo daiino ala prefata Maest4 non solamente per Bologna, ma 

etiamdio per Faenza, Arimino, et Pesaro ; perch^ quando il duca 

Valentino on la Chiexia havesse dicte terre insieme cum Forli, 

Cesena et Imola, non poteria mancho in Italia che il stato de 

MilsLno, et perd li lU"* S** Duchi de Milano non hanno mai 

voluto tollerare che la Chiexia desfaci tuti li Signori de dicte terre, 

nd die le siano date ad uno ; and hanno facto ogni opera per 

conservare cadiuno de dicti Signori in stato ; et per valersene 

559 



APPENDIX II 

meglio, gli hanno anchora dato soldo. C 
che hanno facto in Italia, se sono assai 
terre de Romagna per essere loco opportu 
in tuti li movimenti che se fanno in Its 
experientia in la guerra mosta contra F 
M~ Bartholomeo da Bergamo,^ et poi al 
Re Carlo, et ultimamente quando Vene 
soccorso a Pisa per la valle de Lamone. 
Chi™* M** non debe toUerare che Bologn 
duca Valentino, ma pur non debe perme 
Romagna piii de queUo che*l ge ha : oltr; 
che queUi naturali Signori siano desfacti 
senza alcuna iusta causa. Pregati adun* 
S" Locotenenti per parte nostra, che nc 
che'l prefato S. Messer Zoanne sia mole< 
data a sua S"* in lo novo protectione, e 
tianissimo Re, come anche per utile et 1: 
la quale al presente et per lo advenire, st 
termini che la g, haveri sempre tuta qu< 
mando, come la ha U suo ducato de Mila 
valeri in tute le imprese che la fari ; cl 
fusse in mane del Papa o del duca V< 
etiamdio che per lo interesse de la prefa 
ogni cosa ad epsi possibile perchg U Signc 
et Pesaro restino in.casa, et ciun quest 
schiavi de la Chr°" M** ; non omettend 
mano anchora lo interesse et preiuditio 
grandissimo quando il duca Valentino ha 
de quello che I'ha, et maximamente in 
Sig"* molto bene quello che lo anno p 
deNui. Svegliati per modo sue Sig"® cl 
importantia sia questa cosa per piii cap 
ricordare che sia per inanimare et acc( 
la provisione necessaria. Et certamente 
M** et S'** habiano una grande et vera iui 
dicta impresa, cum fare intendere al Pa] 

^ i.e. The CoUeonic War in i 
560 



APPENDIX II 

presente de attendere a guerre in Italia, essendo le cose del Turco 
inanti come sono. Et a sue Sig'*® ne raccomandareti, pre- 
gandole che le tengano questo nostro ricordo secreto. 

La aUigata sopra questa materia a Messer Zoanne Valla, 
voressemo cbe fusse mandata a salvamento et per modo die la 
contiixentia non devenisse a notitia de altri. Per6 pregareti 
quelli Signori che la vogliano mandare salvamente, facendoli 
intendere per che causa la sia, et vui all cayallari regii etiam la 
raccomandareti. 

Comachi, .v Octobris, 1500. 

J>as0^. — Se'l vi paresse che dicte lettere non havessero ad andare 
a salvamento per dicta via, seria da vedere se gli fusse qualche 
cancellero del prefato S. Messer Zoanne il quale havesse modo de 
mandarle. Et in efiecto governati questa cosa come meglio vi 
parer^, acid che le lettere non vadino in sinistro, et che la con- 
tinentia sia secreta cussi a Milano come in Franza.^ 

(R- Archivio di Stato in Modena, Minulario Cronologico.) 



XXII 
Js€ibeUa d' Este Gonzaga to Duke ErcoU of Ferrara. 

Mantua, 

November 27, 1500. 
Ill"*** et Ex"° Signore, mio padre obser"", 

T>G iDOcha del Signore mio consorte et per la lettera de V* 
Ex*^* lio inteso quanto amorevolmente la me ha invitata ad 
veixire a tuore el Jubileo ; dU che gU resto molto obligata et 
ringratiola grandemente. Ma havendo ben considerate sopra 
la- spesa che me accaderia a fare se volesse andare a Roma, 

X Tlie aliigata to Giovanni Valla is in nearly the same terms. He is to 
a.pp^3l to the King and Monsignor de Rouen to protect BentivogUo. with 
t,\^j& same arguments about the importance of Bologna to the Duchy ol 
^i y^ig^^ : " non pretermettendo anche de tochare lo interesse et preiuditio 
nostro, il quale non poteria essere magiore. come sue Mu et Stia facilmente 
^•OLdLlcarano, reducendosse a memoria quello che se tentava contra di Nui 
liora. fa uno anno per mezo del Car^ Borgia legato del Papa : oltrache 

Kvendo o il Papa o U duca Valentino Bologna cum le altre dtade de Romag- 
t, non seria meno potente inltalia che il stato de Milano, et congiunto cum 

561 



APPENDIX II 

trovo che in consdenda non spenderia 

octocento ducati a limitarla piA die potess 

pagare el quarto, o venire a composidc 

manco de docento ducati ; et ritrovandoi 

dinari per le grave spese die me sono < 

molto indebitata, non saperia como riti 

V* et Nostro Signor Dio me haver^ ] 

rispecto alia necessity et bona disposidc 

per essere gradosa de indulgentia la S^ d 

confirmari alia quaresima, passato die s 

confessionale, per auctoriti dd quale | 

de colpa et de pena, per il che venird cui 

segmre d merito. Se io fussi venuta h 

percondurela venerabile Sore Osana; ci 

parlato dice ,che, per visitare la veneral 

cosa grata a V** Ex*** et a me, faria o{ 

mal volunteri, per havere gii parechi anr 

meso voto de non uscire de Mantua, p< 

proprie parole, che la sii cossi trista pe 

andare in tomo. Non di meno quando 

obedientia die la Ex*** V** mi ha mand 

et conducta. 

Mandard ad essa la lectica che la mi 1: 
gratia di quella me raccommando sempre 
Blantue, xxvii Novembris, M D. 
Ex. V. 

Filia Isabella Marchionissa ] 

(R. Archivio di Stato in Modena, Cane 

di Isabella d* Este Gonzai 



altii seria anche magiore." He says nothing 1 
other Signori, but alludes to the Turk, and bid 
Cardinal not to communicate this ricordo to 
hgico]. Similarly in an instruction to Bartolom 
30, 1500, the latter is to go to the French King v 
before him the Duke's opinion, according to tl 
urge him to protect Bologna from the Borgia {Cc 

563 



APPENDIX II 

XXIII 

I^ope Julius II to the Cardinal Ippolito d' Este, 

Rome, 

May 8, 1507. 

I-^'i-EOTE Kiu NOSTER salutem et apostolicam benedictionem. 

Littere dilecti filii nostri Antonii tituli Sancti Vitalis presbiteri 

^'^^^^^^-lis, Bononie etc. Nostri et Apostolice Sedis Legati, mag- 

nam Circiimspectioni tue laudem tribuunt. Testantur enim 

v^ctoriam. contra Tirannos Bentivolos nuper partam in tua 

smgnlari virtute, qui etiam armatus illis obstiteris, con- 

^^^^^sse I oum pro statu Nostro et Sancte Romane Ecdesie, 

CUIUS lionorabile membrum et peculiaris filius es, nee discrimen 

nee lal>oreixi ilium subterfugiendum putaveris; arcem etiam 

Spliiliril3^j7-ti magno ingenio hostibus Nostris subtraxeris. Que, 

et si N^oIdIs inopinata non erant, tamen gratissima iucundissi- 

maqiio fviervint. Commendamus igitur ipsam tuam Circumspec- 

tionein. in Domino, Nosque tam preclari facinoris memores 

grat^osq^vie pollicemur. Arcem autem Sphilinberti ima cum 

il l ius op j>iclo ut retineas te exhortamur ; et, si fieri potest, idem 

coxi-tra. AJexandrum Pium de Soxolo, qui hostibus Nostris favit 

et: se Saxicte Romane Ecclesie hostem declaravit, effidas ut 

uberiixs a. l<^obis valeas commendari. Datum Rome apud Sanctum 

I^et^%€^T9% s%ih annulo Piscatorisy Die viii Affl/, mcccccvii, Ponti' 

/iotf^-s^s N'osfy^ anno quarto, 

(Oxriginal Brief in the R. Archivio di Stato in Modena.) 



563 



(«) Ald 
d. 1 



h 



Bezi 

IB. 

Hu4 



(f) AMoVII««NoTelk)" 
d. 1264 
m. {m\ GioTsoas 

(h) Mtmbilis PelaTiciao 



{h) Cottanza 

m. Umberto Aldobrandetdu 



{a) Axzo Vin 

d. 1308 

«• («) Giovinn 

W Beatrice 



(a) Francesco 

murdered l^it 



(a) Beatrice 
d. 1334 

m. U) Nino Viicoiiti 
(^) Galeacao 
Viaconti 



FrcKo 
(natural) 
nj. Pellegi 

Folco 



Acao 
d. 1318 



Bertoldo 
d. 1343 

Francetco 
d. 1384 

1 Axzo 

f^) Aldo«»^^ GioYanni d. 14x1 

'»• ^atlf J Taddeo 

V'^'^^'rof d.1448 . . , 

Ok? irouia (Condottiere m ierrice of 

' Ac^ ^^ e to aeire Ferrara, waa the great-frandaoo of Pietro, 
^^"^tehaJf. 



d.1 



Bea 

m. , 
Hu] 



{a) Axzo VIII 
d. 1108 

»• (a) GioTann 
W Beatrice 



(c) AMoVII*«NoTeUo» 
d. 1264 
m. («) GioTanna 

(^) Mambilia PelaTidno 



{h) Coftanaa 

m. Umberto Aldobrandetdii 



(4) Francesco 

murdered 1312 



(tf) Beatrice 
d. I3J4 

m. {a\ Nino Viicoatt 
(b) Galeaxzo 
Viaconti 



QC 
84 



a 
di 



Freaco 
(natnral) 

m. PeUea 

Folco 



Azco 
d. 1318 



Ih) Al.l>011U>.Bn,o 

pegitimated) 

a- B«yrice da 

ObUo 
'356^1388 



Giovanni 
(natural) 
oil I3i3-»3W 



Bertoldo 
d. 1 343 

Francetco 
d. 1384 

Acao 
d. 141 1 



Taddeo 
d, 1448 

(Condottierc in tervice of 
Venice) 
le to tei^e Ferrara, waa the great-grandson of Pictro, 



rof 
srquia 



E^OUSE OF ESTE (II) 

N1CC0L& III 

1 383-1441 

Twelfth Marquis of Fcrrara 
m. (d\ Giglioia da Carrara, 1397 
U) Parifina Malatetta, 141 8 
(c) Ricciarda da Saluzao, 143 1 



■^"T 



nevra {b) Lucia 

19-1440 1419-1437 



Sigis- 
i>ndQ 
ilatesta 



m. Carlo 
Gonzaga 



Itotta 

(natural) 

1425-1456 

m. (a) Oddo Antonio 

da Monte- 

feltro 
{b) Stefano 

Frangipani 



(natural) '507 i-^^^^^ U many 

1427-149;^ in.Galeotto 

m. {a) Nic# pj^^ deUa 

^* Mirandola 

(b) Tria 
Sfa. 



and many 

other 

bauardf 



(a) Niccol6 

Corrcgg* 

1450-1 

m. Cass 

Colleon. . 
ido 



Bianca 

m. Alberigo 
da San 
Sevcrino 



Diana 

m. Uguccione 
di Ambrogio 
de' Contran 



Vurone 
[aria 
aturaf^ 
14S4 



CcoU 
ria ■ 
•50 

lop 
.di 



: of Ferrara and 

I Sforza, 1 491 
czia Borgia, 1502 



Ferrando 
1477-1540 



{b) Francesco 
1516-1578 



Bradamante MahSsa 
tnatural) (natural) 



Giulio 

(natural) 

1478-1561 



Alfonso 

(by Laura Dianti) 

1527-1587 

m. Giulia della Rovere 

nsinn ^^ ■ 



Ippolito ] 

1479-15. 

Cardinal 

Elitabetta 
(natural) 
m. GibcTt 



Alfonsino 
1560-1578 
>n« Marfita 
d' Este 



CuAai 

1 562-1628 

Duke of Ferrara, 1597 
Duke of Modena, I5?7- 
m. Viigini* de' Medici 



Ugo Aldobnmdino 

(nstvral) 

1405-1425 



Meliaduse 

(natural) 

1406-1452 



' xt: A^llk O^lfr 



Scipione 
(natural) 



Niccol6 
(natural) 



Poltdoro 
(natural) 



Leonkllo 

(natural, legitimated) 

1407-1450 
Thirteenth Mar<^uit 
of Ferrara 
m. {a) Margherita 

Gonzaga 
{h) Maria 

d'Aragona 



Bo MO 

(natural) 
1413-1471 
First Duke 
of Modena 
(1452) and 
Ferrara 
l»470 



Alberto 

(natural) 

1415-1502 



Meliaduse 
Bishop of 
Comacchio 



Francesco [a) Niccol6 

(natural) 1438-1476 

b. before 1430 



Girolamo Battista Vincenxo 
(natural) (natural) (natural) 



Lucrezia 

(natural) 

b. before 1473 

d. 1516 or 1518 

m. Annibale Bentivoglio 



Isabella 

i474-«539 

m. Gian Francesco 

Gonaaga 



(b) EacoLB II 
1508-1559 
Fourth Duke of 
Ferrara and Modena 
m. Rente of France 

i 



(b) Ippolito 1 I 
1509-157* 
Cardinal 



Gurone 
Maria 
(natural) 
d. 1484' 



Niccoli 
Maria ' 
d. 150 
Bishop 
of Adi 



T 



Beatrice 

1475"H'>7 
m. Lodoyico 
Sforaa 



Ali 

»4: 

Th 
M< 



{b)U 



Alfonso II 
i533-»597 
Fifth Duke of 
Ferrara and 
Modena 



Lucreaia 

1535-1598 

m> Francesco Maria II 

della RoTere, Duke 

of Urbino 



Leonora 
i537-»5«» 



Luigi 

1538-1586 

Cardinal 



ondotdere) 



LodoTico 
d. 1511 



Dorotea 
d. 1469 



6 

>aldo 
Feltro, 
ike 



Maddalena 

1472-1490 

m. Giovanni Sforza 

of Petaro 



Giovanni 

i474-«5»5 
m. Laura 
di Giovanni 
BentivQglio 



I — 1 



Ferrante Livia Ippolita 

i507-«557 CHanna d. 1570 

m. Isabella x 509-1 569 
of Capua 



L 



Aletsandro 

1409-1473 

Lord of Pesaro and Ccttignola 

m. Coftanza Varano 



ttisU 

1.6-147* 

Federigo 

Monte- 

:ro, firit 

keof 

bino 



Costanzo 
1447-1483 
m. Cam- 
milla 
Marzano 



Ginevra 

(natural) 
d. 1507 
m. {a) Sante 
Benti- 
voglio 
{b) Giovanni 
Bentivoglio 



Giovanni 

(natural) 

1466-1$ 10 

Lord of Pcsaro 

m. («) Maddalena Gonzaga 

n{h) Lucrezia Boigia 
{c) Ginevra Tiepolo 

aterina 
latural) 

ThcLadyofForll" 
1. («) Oirolamo Riario 

(A) Giacomo Feo 

(c) Giovanni dc* Medici 



ledi 

ndo d* Efte 



1 



iUOLO 



r~T 



Gioranni 
Mirco 
executed 
1469 



GioTanni 

Lodorico 

executed 

1469 

m. Orante 

Onini 



Gibetto 
d. 1446 
m. Alda da Polenta 



Marco 

d. 14-93 

m. Bcnedctta del Carrctto 



m 



Gibetto 
d. 1500 
m. Leonora 
BentiToglio 



Eroole Enea 
d. 1S33 



Alda Emilia 

m. Gian d. 1528 
Francesco 
Gambara 



Marco 
d. 1544 
)rgia I 

Etcole 
:tad'Ette 



Veronica 
Gambara 



iLLA MIRANDOLA 



Boiardo 



Lucrezia Antonio 

io Pto m. Pino degli d. 1 501 

> Gonzaga Ordelafli m. Cottansa di Sante 

fientivoglio 



Index of Names. 



(Contemporaries only.) 



Imeric de Peguilhan, 34 

Lbanzani, Donato. 17, 41 

Ibaresani, Caterina, 33, 34» 

Ibaresani, Isotta, 26 

Iberti, Leon Battista, 50, 53, 

,^ 55-57. 274 

LlaoDrandiiio di Goidone, 302, 319, 

320 
lleotti, Antonio (painter), 465 
Uexander VI, Pope (Rodrigo Bor- 
gia), 228-233, 23s, 237, 29s. 
296, 300. 302, 307, 320, 328, 
337-339. 349. 354. 355. 359. 
360, 376, 379, 382. 384, 386- 
400, 402, 403, 406-412, 422- 
42s, 432-434. 440, 444» 466, 
469. 47 S«. 478. 479. 516; 
Appendix II, documents 21, 
22 
Alfonso I of Aragon, King of 
Naples (the *' Magnanimous "), 
62-64,65, 293, 516 
Alfonso II of Aragon, King of 
Naples (previously Duke of 
Calabria), 155, 156. 165. 174. 
176, 181, 182, 187, 191, 192, 
196, 198, 203-205, 207-209, 
234, 247. 270-273, 293. 297 : 
Appendix II, documents 12, 
13. 14 
Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bis- 
cegUe, 359, 386. 387. 398. 442 
Alldgre, Yves de, 355, 382, 388. 

Alviano, Bartolommeo da, 342 
Amboise, Georges de (Cardinal of 

Rouen), 357, 388, 39^-393. 

395. 437-440. 448. 46i». 

56111 



Andrea da Gennaro, 176, 232, 

236 
Andreassi, Osanna, 365, 366. 375- 
378 ; Appendix II, document 22 
Angelo da Siena (painter), 55. 90 
Angoul6me, Madame de, 390, 391 
Anna, Suora, 431, 432 
Anselmo da Ferrara (poet), 25* 
Appolonia, Suora, 403 
Aragon, Beatrice of, Queen of Hun- 
Isabella, of (Duchess of Milan), 

see Sforza 
Leonora of (Duchess of Ferrara), 
see Este 
Arcamone, Aniello, 176, 207 ; Ap- 
pendix II, document 14 
Arduino, Isabella, 151 
Arienti, Giovanni Sabadino, 195, 

196, 242n 
Ariosti, family of the, 16 
Francesco di Prindvalle *'Pere- 
grinus," 59 ; his Iside, 60 ; corre- 
spondence with Borso, 98, 99 ; 
his account of Borso's Roman 
Triumph, 109-113 ; his history 
of the shiine of the Madonna, 
123,124,139 
Francesco di Rmaldo, 5911, 103, 

189-191, 191ft, 490 
Galasso, 135 
Giovanna, 132 
Lippa, 16 
Malatesta. 7611 
Niccold (Count), 103, 125-127, 

180. 273. 326, 490-492 
Pandolfo, 491 
Ariosto, Lodovico, the supreme 
poet of the Italian Renais- 
sance, 10 ; his ancestry, 16 ; 



565 



inde: 



wfen-ed to e/ «''''«*«> or 



^^J"* da (poet,. 5,, 

4xt *' 380. 403-40J. 

^nnes;i5'5'7 ^*^a 

«oS'lf ?• «o. -X. 508 i°-i' 

n, document 2" ' "^PP^dix ^el 

^»-«a d-Kste. ',38, ,^_ ^ 



Cesil 
566 



INDEX 



-4-3^— -4-35. 440, 44i*445» 5"- 
5132 -Ai>i>endix II, document 
2 X 

>lz-ol SLXXKSL, '4-17 

^^laS^^^'^^^^ Raimondo, 43 ^n, 432 
[ ua.zi» CaurdiTial of Monreale, 330, 

-4.3^ 
f uaji, ]I>ulce of Gandia, 517 
L^uorezis. ^IDuchess of Bisceglie, 
a^-tex^virax-ds IDuchessof Ferrara), 
iS30, 23 X, 354. 359. 381. 386. 
3B7. 3S9-4.23, 424-430, 434- 
4.37, .4^3 > 444. 469. 470. 492. 
495^498 « 503. 505. 5"-5H. 

X^odrig^o. ^^^ Alexander VI 
Itodrigo CI^«^^« of BiscegUe), 387. 

398, 4-36' -437 ^ 
^rgognoni, Cristoforo (architect), 

4.60 
Dsclietti, Albertino, Count, 310, 

4S>7* 503» 504 
oscbetti, i^oberto, 150 
oiir'bozi, IhCaxlame de (Anne of 

xesciano* Batrtolommeo, 380, 381, 
401— 4.05* 4.1 1. 412. 431. 432 

.rocstdeUi,, GentiUna, 367, 369, 371, 
3^2, 380 ; see also Lucia 

lurdiardvis, 403»» 



CappeUo. Paolo, 359. S^Tn^ 43* 

Capponi, Neri, 302n 

Caprara, Antonia di Bartolommeo, 

258, 261-263 
Caraffa, Cardinal, 439 
Carbone, Lodovico, 41, 121, 531 
Carlo da San Giorgio, 83, 84, 8411, 

103, 104, 10511 
Carrara, Francesco Novello da, 27 
Gigliola da, 33 
Ubertino da, i^n 
Carri, Lodovico de*, 321 
Carvajal, Cardinal, 328 
Casa, Francesco della, 23711, 24611, 

247, 248n 
Casari, Niccol6, 69 
CaseUa, Lodovico, 80, 87 
Castelli, Girolamo, 80 
Castello, Francesco da, 328, 333, 

460 
Castiglione, Baldassare, 514, 51811 
Catanei, Vannozza, 230 
Catherine of Siena, St., 141, 353. 
S6S, 374-376. 378. 379. 381. 
401, 465, 466 
Cato Senior, 691* 

CavaUieri, Bartolommeo de' 390- 
394. 396n, $97. 398.' 434, 
437, 46111, 56211 
Caxton, 19711 

Charles V, Roman Emperor acq 
Charles VIII, King of Fraiic4. 18011 , 
232, 236, 237, 239. 2416-248, 
250, 296-320, 322, 323. 327, 
3^9. 331-335. 34i. 383. 473- 
475. 477. 478. 487. 488. 491 
Chaumont. 434, 437, 506 



lAgaoVo, Niccold, 417. 4i8ii, 42011, 

4^1. 4-33,^ ^ 
::alaxicira, SUvestro. 5i7»» 

^alavrese, Niccolo, 123 

^alcagiiiiio. Marietta Strozzi, 142, Cherubino da Spoleto, Fra.te 194 

258. 259*» Chrysoloras, John, 41 

'"alcatKnino, Xeofilo, 80, 83. 94, in, Cieco da Ferrara, ses Bello 
^ 115. X24, 125. 130. 135. 177 Ciriaco of Ancona. 55 

Calefl&iii' Ugo, 29. 34*. 40n, 5411, 
e^w. 78, 80, 8in, 95, losn, 
110-113. II7-I3I. "9n, i32n, 
138, X42«. 147-149. 151W. IS3» 
r^s»^mirxo. :Beatrice da, 19 
S^^^. Antomo (" II Pistoia "), 

^6oM, 475-483 
Ca-mpo. Luchino dal, 30-32 

^^t^mieri. '(CondoUnieri), Lodo- Comincs. Philipp^ de, 299/^; -o-« 

^ ^ca. ^38 . ^ ^ ^ 309. 312, 313-317. 3iS>«, 3^7 

dantelmo, Sigismondo, 296 Compagno, Gxovanm di, uow, n^n, 
f^^jatemo, Sigismondo. 278 116 

f^T5ilnT>o, Benedetto. 244. 420. 422, Contarini, Pietro. 30 

^^96 Contarini, Vettor. 167, 168 

567 



Clement V, Pope, 13 

Clement VI, Pope, 1611 

CoUenucdo, Pandolfo, 29^ 322 

323. 385-387. 435. 445. 446 
Colleom, Bartolommeo, xcx> loi 

174. 560 
Colomba, Suora, 37811 
Colomba of Rieti, Beata, 3^^ a66 

368, 371.. 375. 376, 378w 



INDE 

Conti, Sigismondo de', 16911, i7on> I 
173W. i79n, iSoM, i84n, 19211. 
193. 196. i97«. 203n, ao8«, I 
433W 1 

Contrari, Ambrosio de*. 189 

Ippolita de/ 216 I 

Niccold de*. 134. 135 
Ugucdone de/ 38, 47 I 

Corio, Bernardino, 135, 136, 199, I 
a24n. 234, 245. 3". 3i4. 3iS». 
316 
Comaro. Cardinal, 439 
Correggio, Antonio da, 26511 ^ 

Beatrice d' Este da (afterwards I 
Sforza), 39. ssn I 

Borso da, 130, 134, 28 in, 341 
Cassandra CoUeoni da, 483 
Galeaaco da, 318 
Gherardo da, 254 
Niccol6 da (the elder), 39, 5511 
Niccol6 da (the younger), 39, 
73. 77, 87, 109. 130, 142, 156, 
177, 186, 217, 218, 272, 405, 
407. 482-485, 501-505. 522 
Cortesi, Alberto, 152, 160, 168- 

170 
Cosenza, Cardinal of, 436, 437 
Cosimo, Hero di (painter), 183, 

282, 289, 484 
Cossa, Francesco del (Feirrarese 

painter), 89-94, 288 
Costa, Cardinal Giorgio, 205 
Costa, Lorenzo (Ferrarese painter), 

464 
Costabili. Alberto. 47 

Antonio. 311. 329, 332, 387, 

441, 450, 496n, 500, 504 
Beltrando, 383, 384, 425W, 435, 
441, 444, 445, 45on, 452, 454, 

455» 4S6«. 474«. 494. 499» 
500 ; letter from Duke Ercole 
to him. Appendix II, docu- 
ment 21 
Costanza, 18 
Rinaldo, 189. 19OW 
Cristof ano, Giovanni di. 1 56 
Cristoforo. Fra. da Viterbo. 372, 

458 
Cybo, Cardinal Lorenzo, 219 



D 
Dante, 11, 13, 15, 17, 4211, 52, 5311. 

85. 87. 490. 52on. 533 
Decembrio, Angelo Camillo, 46- 
^ 49. 52. 53. 531 

568 



INDEX 



Ajma Sforza, 150, 222, 225-227, 
^ 237. 325. 330. 473» 474. 
'A^zo VI (first Marquis of 

Kerrara), 23n, 24 
A220 VII "NoveUo" (third 
Marquis of Ferrara), 11, 12, 
I5», 21, 24 
Azzo VIII (fifth Marquis of 

Ferrara), 11, 12, 13, 24 
Azzo di Francesco, 2on, 27 
Azzo (adherent of Niccold di 

Leonello]. 145, 147 
Haldassare (painter and medal- 
list), 40», 91, 92, 275, 463 
Beata Beatrice I, 23n, 24. 155 
Beata Beatrice II, 23n 
Beatrice (daughter of Niccol6 

III), see Correggio 
Beatrice (Duchess of Milan), 

««« Sforza 
Bianca Maria, see Pico della 

Mirandola 
Bianca di Sigismondo, 32n,. 38» 
*^^**B, DA. BoRSO (first Duke of 
Ferrara). 33, 36. 40, 43. 44. 5©, 
52, 55n, 62 ; intrigues with 
King of Naples, 62, 63 ; 65, 
67 ; succeeds Leonello, 68-70 ; 
made Duke of Modena and 
Reggio. 70-73 ; triumphal pro- 
gress through his States, 73- 
76 ; relations with Pius II, 26- 
79 ; appearance and character, 
79^82 ; relations with scholars 
and men of letters. 82-88 ; 
patronage of art, 88-92; in 
the frescoes of the Schifanoia, 
^3' P-* ; lus relations with his 
nepiie^v, 95-97 \ recalls Ercole 
and Sigismondo, 98, 99; his 
italisLXk policy, 100-102 ; con- 
spiracy of the Pio against him, 
Joj— XCK5 : letter to Lorenzo 
de' J%ireciici, 107 ; abandons 
^fccoI<5, 108 ; his journey to 
•t^oine?, xoS— 1 12 ; is made Duke 
0/ P"ex^rax^, 1 1 3-1 16; desires 
^reforxr^ of the Church, 117 I 
Returns to Ferrara, 117: last 
pacific e:av>z-ts. 118; death and 
ouiiaJ, X x^^i2i ; referred to, 
'23~x^^ ; ilia corrupt officials. 
in f' '^^ ' anonymous capitoli 
^ Jus 120X201U-, Appendix I, pp. 
1^;;^' V^ <=a.n«onrto him by 
^^ppo ^C^«>roione. ibid.. PP' 



534-537 ; briefs of Paul II to 
hun. Appendix II, documents 
I and 2 
Cesare (last Duke of Ferrara), 10 
Costanza, 24 
Ercolx I (second Duke of 
Ferrara), 2on. 2311 ; his birth, 
40 : banished by Leonello, 62, 
60; visits Borso, 74; prob- 
ably in the Schifanoia fres- 
coes, 94: exploits at Naples, 
97, 98 ; returns to Ferrara and 
Modena, 98, 99. »«> > valour at 
J^Mulinella, loi, 102; reveals 
the conspiracy of the Pio, I04» 
105 ; assists the papal army. 
108 ; Francesco Ariosti's let- 
ters to, 1 10-113; crushes the 
Veleschi and becomes Duke, 
117-121 ; his character, 122- 
124; attempts to poison his 
nephew, 125, 126 ; beginmngs 
of Ws reign. 127-133 : his mar- 
riage 134-139 1 ^42; <^,?' 
spSacy of Niccol6 di Leondlo 
against him, lAS'^SO'. ."^s 
Srigue with Isabella Arduino, 
ici ■ relations with his wile, 
IC2-154; aids Florence against 
Rome and Naples, 15 5 ; rela- 
tions with Pope Sixtus, 156- 

162. 165. 166; q^^^^r?!,^ 

Venice, 167-170; i»PPJ^^^ i^ 
Pope and Count Girolamo m 
matter of Forli. i7i-»73 ; /oes 
not trust SUtus, ^73-^75 -J-^ 
war with Venice a»d« Rome, 
177-188 ; his illness. i89r i90# 
besieged in Ferrara, 190-J92. 
recondUation with the ^ope. 
193-203; defeats fe V^ne^ 
tians at Stellata, 203? ^'^ 
forced to accept a dishonou^ 
able peace, 207-2" '^^ 
pacific rule, 213. 214 ; P^^i^. 
age of the drama, 215-210 » 
visits Pope Innocent, 219 » 
relations \vith Bologna and 
Florence, 220. 221; makes 
marriages for his children, 222- 
227; relations with Rome^ 
228-231 ; with LcKl^SS? 
Sforza, 231-239 ; sends tcr- 
rando to France. 239-241 . 
death of his wife, 241-244 ; set- 
ters to Ferrando, 248-249. 

569 



inde: 

favours Lodovico and the 
French, 250, 251 ; letter to 
Alfonso, 251, 252; friendship 
-with Boiardo, 256, 257. 261, 
264, 266-269. 270-276, 277- 
279 ; disavows the latter's last 
action, 279. 280 ; his doubtful 
policy, 295 ; is angry with 
Ferrando, 296 - 299 ; ex- 
cluded from the League, 301- 
304 ; relations with Savon- 
arola, 304-307 ; receives 
Comines. 307, 308 ; tries to 
keep neutral, 309-315 ; pro- 
tests against the Italian ac- 
counts of Fomovo, 317, 318 ; 
critical relations with Venice 
and Rome, 319-321 ; reUes on 
Savonarola, 321 ; intervenes 
between France and Milan, 
322-324 ; under Savonarola's 
influence. 324-328 ; disregards 
the Emperor, 328, 329 ; cold- 
ness with Pope and Milan, 329, 
330 ; Savonarola's secret ad- 
vice to, 330-335 ; yields to 
Venice, 335, 336 ; breaks with 
Savonarola, 337, 338, 339, 340, 
341 ; prudent policy, 342-344 ; 
mediates between Venice and 
Florence, 345-349 ; will not 
aid Milan. 349-353 ; adheres 
to France. 353-359; ^^ the 
year of Jubilee, 361-363 ; a 
latter-day disciple of St. 
Catherine, 364-369 ; relations 
with Suora Luda and Suora 
Osanna, 369-381 ; relations 
with Cesare Borgia, 383-386, 
389 ; is compelled to marry 
' Alfonso to Lucrezia, 389-401 ; 
wants nuns from Umbria, 401- 
405 ; his distrust of the 
Borgias, 408 ; relations with 
Lucrezia, 41 x, 412, 414-419; 
with the French Ambassador, ] 

421, 422 ; letter to the Pope. ] 

423 ; relations with Cesare and I 

France, 428, 429 ; his devo- 
tions, 430-432 ; exults at 1 
death of Alexander, 433, 434 ; 
but protects Cesare, 435 ; 1 
advice to Lucrezia, 436 ; in- < 
structions to Ippolito for the ( 
Conclave, 437-440 ; relations ( 
wth Julius II, 441-445 ; quar- 

570 



INDEX 



p^lce Ercole to him. Ap- 
pendix II. document 17 
Giii^ne Maria. 33. jyn. 109, in 
ippoUto I (Caxdmal), 151, 220, 
24i-«43. 336, 337. 350, 351. 
353* 354. 370. 386. 405-408, 
412, 437-440.446-455*457. 470. 
480, 48on. 492. 493. 498-503. 
C07-51O' S12-515. 519W* 522n. 
524 ; letters from Duke Ercole 
to lii^' A^ppendix II, docu- 
laents 15 and 20 ; 555n; brief 
of Pope Julius to him. Ibid, 
docnnient 23 
Isabella' (Marchesana of Mantuajf. 

see Gonzaga 
laotta. 55 J 
EsTB ^^' Leonbllo (thirteenth 
Marquis of Ferrara), 33. 17, 
^jo-43 ; succeeds his father. 44 ; 
relations ^th Guarino. 45, 46 ; 
his portrait in the De Politia 
JjitUraria, 4^49 ; relations 
■with his brothers, 50 ; his 
scholarship. 50-52 ; his sonnets, 
53 ; patronage of artists, 54, 
55 ; friendship with L. B. 
Alberti, 55-57 ; reorganizes 
the Studio. 57, 58 ; his Court, 
59, 60; extolled by Janus 
pannonius, 61 ; marriages and 
policy, 62-64; consulted by 
JDecembiio. 64 ; political ac- 
tions, 65 ; character, 65-67 ; 
death, 68 ; relations with 
Ferrarese art, 82, 88, 89 
X^eonora d'Aragona (first Duchess 
of Ferrara), 134-139. 142-148, 
151-154, 156. 179. 186, 189, 
190, 192. 195, 209-211, 213, 
314, 220-226. 228. 230, 233. 
i235-244, 301. 417. 462. 490; 
letter from Ercole to her, 
Appendix II. document 7 
X-ttcrezia, see BentivogUo 
Lucrezia, su Borgia 
Margherita Gonzaga. 40. 5 1' 55^' 

2l^aria d'Aragona, 62 
^eliaduse (son of Niccold III|. 

33' 3<5. 50. 54-56. 77n 
Meliaduse (Bishop of Comac- 

chio). 405. 416 
Kiccol6 I (seventh j^larquis of 

Ferrara), 15 
^iocol^ II "Zoppo" (tenth 



Marquis of Ferrara), 16, 17, 
19. 21 ^ 

NiccoLd III (twelfth Marquis of 
Ferrara), 17. 20n ; his acces- 
sion and dominion, 26. 27 ; 
his pacific policy, 28. 29 ; 
character, 29 ; pilgrimages, 
30-32 ; wives, mistresses and 
children, 33-40 ; patron of 
learning, 40-43 ; at the Council 
of Ferrara, 43. 44 ; death, 44 ; 
his vengeance on wife and son 
defended by Decembrio and 
condemned by Pius II, 49. 
5on ; 57. 88 
Niccol6 di Leonello. 62, 68, 69, 77 » 
95-99. 108, 109, 118, 119, 121, 
123, 125, 126, 133, 143-150. 
158; his children, I47«, Ap- 
pendix II, documents 16 and 

19 
Niccold Maria, z^* 3^8, 405, 416. 

431 
Ol^zo II (fourth Marquis of 

Ferrara), 11, 24 
Obizzo III (eighth Marquis of 

Ferrara), 11, 13, 15, 16, 19 
Obizzo di Aldobrandino, 19 
Parisina, see Malatesta 
Polidoro, 77*1 
Ricciarda da Saluzzo, 40, 62. 

123 

Rinaldo (sixth Marquis of Fer- 
rara), II, 13, 15 

Rinaldo Maria, 40, 771%, 109. 
128, 130, 142, 145, 146, I48». 

333«. 431 
Scipione, 77n, 147 
Sigismondo (son of Niccol6 III). 

40, 44, 109, 128, 130, 134. ^42. 

144-146, I48«, 152. 156, 185. 

186, 189. 222, 225, 460 
Sigismondo (son of Ercole I). 

162, 342. 457 
Ugo di Obizzo, 17 
Ugo Aldobrandino, 33, 34, 36-38, 

4i» 49. 505 
Eugenius IV. Pope. 27. 43, 6$. 79 

Famese. Alessandro (afterwards 

Paul HI), 241 
GiuUa, see Orsmi 
Felice. Pietro, 173 ; Appendix II. 

document 5 
FelicitA, Suora, 403. 404 



571 



IND] 

I 

Ferdinand, King of Aragon and i 
Castile, 182, 188, 197, 299 

Ferdinand I. King of Naples, I 
" Ferrante," 98, loi, 104. losn, \ 
134. 15». »55. i59» 161. 165, 
166, 169. 170, 174. 175. 183. 
188. 200, 304, 207, 208, 227, 
228, 232-237, 243, 244. 246, 
247. 248, 297, 432». 516 

Ferdinand II, King of Naples, 
297. 300. 3*3 

Ferrari, G. B., Cardinal of Modena, 
378. 390, 392. 4" 

Ferrarino (troubadour), 24 

Ferreri, Cardinal Antonio, 508- 
510; Appendix II, document 

23 
Fiorano, Alessandro da, 369, 370, 

372 
Fomari, Simone, 52011 
Fomo, Girolamo dal, 350 
Fomo, Masino dal, 5 ign 
Fortuna, Sdpione, 4291 
Francesco da Ferrara, Fra (O. P), 

366n 
Francesco da Firenze (blind poet), 

150, 485, 486 
Frederick III, Roman Emperor 

(Hapsburg), 70-73» 79» ^02, 

103 
Frederick of Aragon. Prince of 

Altamura, afterwards King of 

Naples, 233, 247, 349, 353 
Franceschi, Pietro dei (painter), 89, 

90,527 

G 

Galasso Galassi (Ferrarese painter), 
89 

Garofolo (Benvenuto Tisi), 54 

Gaza, Theodore, 58, 59 

Geminiano di Bongiovanni (Fer- 
rarese painter), 465 

Gianni (the singer), 497, 501, 502, 
504. 506 

Giovanni, Frate, (O. S. F. ; Johannes 
Ferrariensis, historian), 51, 58, 

59. 73-7^ 
Giovanni da Firenze (blind poet), 

150, 485, 486 
Giovanni da Tabia, Frate (O. P.], 

373. 458 G 
Giovio, 23 5n, 519 

Giraldi, G. B., 66n, 97«, 10511, G 

I49n, 227» G 



INDEX 



47. 50-53, 55. 57-59. 61. 65, 86. 

^ ^^ 

Guarini, Battista, 87. 496, 531 
Guasclii, Cesare. 429 
Goicciardiiii. passim 

H 
Henry VII of England. 450 

I 
Innocent VIII. Pope (G. B. Cybo), 
209, 2i2n. 218, 219. 227. 228 

Johannes Ferrariensis, see Giovanni 

John XXII, Pope. 15 

John XXIII. Pope (Baldassare 
Cossa). 33 

Julius II. Pope (Giuliano della 
Rovere). i57n. 440-446, 453- 
455. 494. 495. 499. Soo, 506- 
509. 5". 516. 522n, 524; 
Appendix II, document 23 
(bnef to Ippolito d' Este). See 
also under Rovere, Giuliano 
della 



Lradislaus. King of Hungary. 71 

Lascaris. By 

Legnago. Giovanni Antonio da, 

143. 147. 148 
Leonarda. Suora. 367. 381. 403. 

404 
Lignago, Fra Paolo da. sSn, 39. 

340«, S05W. 5o6n . 

lx>uis of Orleans, afterwards King 

Louis XII of France. 247. 299, 

327. 328, 341. 349. 352-359. 

383. 384» 388. 390-397. 428. 

429. 434. 435. 437. 438. 446, 

46in, 481. 482 : Appendix II. 

document 21 
Lucia da Narni, Bcata. 366-381. 
401-404,431. 432»». 465-467: 
Appendix II. document 22 

M 

MachiaveUi, loi. iSSn, 220, 384, 

388. 501. 523 
Maginardo, Fra, 36 
Mainente. Jacomo. 15 in. 
Maineri. Francesco de' (painter), 

465 
Mainero, Luigi, 6$ 
Malatesta, Isabella da Montefeltro. 
184 
Pandolfo. 354. 355. 382 



Parisina, 34-40. 49. 505 
Roberto. 104. 108. 11 1. 157*1, 

159W, 168, 176. 182-185. 187, 

188 ; Appendix II, document 5 
Sigismondo, 104 
Malipiero. 175. 19691. 203n. 205. 

2o6n. 21 in. 243n. 3i2n. 

319W. 336W. 348 
Malvezad. family. 221 
Manfredi. Astorre. 220. 221. 355. 

388. 413, 427 
Feltrino. 348 

Francesca Bentivoglio. 220 
Galeotto. I57», 166. 170. 181, 

220 
Manfredo. 228. 280, 295, 304-306. 

320. 321, 323. 324. 327. 329- 

332. 334-338. 353. 397. 555 

Marsibilia Pio. 104 

Ottaviano. 221 

Taddeo. loi, 104 

Taddeo (of Reggio). 274 
Mantegna, Andrea, 88, 90, 317 
Manuzio, Aldo, 363, 364. 376, 470. 

5i3«. 521 
Marcello. Fra, 356 
Marcello, Jacopo, 205 
Marco di Galaotto, 42n 
Maria da Panna, Suora, 466n 
Mariano, Giovanni Antonio, 296. 

298. 299, 302n 
Marsano, Antonio da, 179 
Marsuppini, Carlo. 58, 59 
Martin V, Pope, 40 
Martino da TivoU, Fra (O.P.), 367, 

36^. 371-373. 403. 404 
Marzio. Galeotto (poet). 34n 
Masolino, Alberto, 148 
Matthias, King of Hungary, 204 
Maximilian. King of the Romans. 
234, 236, 245, 246, 299, 300. 
317, 328, 329, 349. 351. 357. 
359«. 388, 396. 399. 400. 479 
Mazzolmo. Lodovico (Ferrarese 

painter). 464 
Medici. Cosimo de', 26. 107 
Giovanni, 245 
Giovanni (afterwards Leo X). 

449n 
Giuliano, 137. 154 
Lorenzo. 56. 107, 119. ^20, 125- 
127. 137. 155, 158, 160. 166, 
173. 188. 198, 213. 221, 227. 
248n. 281. 449^ 
Lorenzo di Pier Francesco, 245 
Piero, 100. 103, io5». ^07 



573 



00^ 



INDl 

Piero di Lorenxo. 232, 237W. 245. 
246-248. 251. 309. 334, 388 

family. 22. 100, 106, no 
Md. Antonio. 369, 371, 372 
Melozzo da Forli, 133 
Montecuccolo. Baldissera da, 248. , 

Montefeltzo. Elisabetta Gonzaga da. 
23811. 244. 360. 376. 386. 413- ^ 
417. 420-422, 427, 428, 514. 

Fedengo da (Count, afterwards 
Duke of Urbino), loi, 155. 158. 
168, 169. 173. 174, 177-181. 
184, 527 ; Appendix Il.'aocu- . 
ments 5 and 7 ' 

Guidobaldo da (second Duke of 
Urbino). 184, 185. 365. 372, 
413. 427. 428. 435. 443. 445. 1 
S07. 515. 516 
Ottaviano. 184. 185 
Monte Oliveto, Era Girolamo da, 

366«. 376, 377fi. 378« 
Montferrat, Cardinal of, 116 
Maria Lucrezia of, 130, 131 
Marquis of. 174 
Montone. Bracdo da, 37, 41, 44, 

66n I 

Montpensier, Gilbert de Bourbon, I 
,, 307. 323« 
Moro, Damiano, 175, 177. 178, 180. 

185 
Morosini, Paolo, 149 I 

Morton, Archbishop. 241 I 

Mosti, Giulio, ii3n. 15 in 
Mugiasca, Girolamo, $1^ I 

Muhammed, 165 f 

Mula, Alvise da. 454 
Cristoforo da, 175 



N 

Neroni, Diotisalvi. 100, 140 

Nicholas V. Pope. 64 

Nicholas of Trier, 45 

Niccold da Ferrara (O.S.B.), 14. 

15, i6n. 17, 2on 
Niccold da Pisa (painter). 465 
Nigrisoli. Ferrarese family, 69« 
Novello, Tito di, 121 
Nuvolone, Carlo, 47, 531 

FiUppo. 85W ; unpublished 
poems by. Appendix I, pp. 
531-537 



574 



INDEX 



Pierotto, 387^ 

Pietro di Benvenuto (Ferrarese 

architect), 92, isi»» 459 
Pio, Alberto (the elder), 47, 103 
Alberto (the younger), 491 
Alessandro, 505, 519; Appendix 

II, document 23 
Bernardino, 105, 138M 
Emilia, 5 1491 
Ercole, 513, 514 
Galasso, X03. 
Giberto, 103 
Giovanni (Gian) Lodovico, 103- 

106 
Giovanni (Gian) Marco, 105 
Giovanni (Gian) Marsilio, 105, 

i38n 
Giovanni (Gian) Prindvalle, 105 
Leonello, 103, 105 
Manfredo, 105 
Marco, 103, 105, 109, 134, 189, 

264, 265 
Tommaso, 105, 13891 
Pirondoli, Cesare, 125, 126 
PisaneUo, Vittore. 42. 50, 51. 54. 

55* 88, 89 
Pistofilo, Bonaventura, 227, 493, 

52091 
Pistoia, Antonio da, see Cammelli 
Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini),29, 
30, 3491, 40, 41, 44, 46, 47, 49*. 
so, 51, 66, 73, 76-80 
Pius III (Francesco Piccolomini), 

363* 364. 376, 438 
Poggetto, Beltrando dal, 15 
Poggio Bracdolini, 45, 51 
Polenta, Lamberto da, 13 
Polismagna, 84, 85 
Poliziano, Angelo, 13791, 215-2x8. 

484 
Porcellio, 5i9» 
Pozzi, Gian Luca, 405-408, 410, 

411. 412. 434t 441 
" Prete, El," 407, 410 
Prisdano, Pellegiino, 128 
Prosper!, Bernardino de*, 310, 49391, 

515. 5209t, 5229J. 523 
Puld, Luigi, 281 



Ralmenz Bistors, 24 

Rambaldi, Benvenuto de*, 17, 88 

Rangoni, Aldobrandino, 38 

Gerardo, 389 

G.F.M., 441, 445i» 

N1CC0I6, 135 



Ren6 of Lorraine, Duke, 187, 203 ; 
brief of Pope Sixtus IV to him. 
Appendix II, document 8 

Riario, Girolamo, the Count, 133, 
159, 161, 165-166, 168-173, 
x8i, 182, 184, 18791, 188, 
193, 200, 205, 207, 220 ; Ap- 
pendix II, documents 3-5, 

X2-X4 

Pietro, Cardinal, X33, X35, 136 
Raffaello Sansoni (Cardinal of 
S. Giorgio), X33, 207, 36191, 
453 i Appendix II, document 
14 
Roberti (dei). Aima, 39, 40, 9x91, 
129, X9291 
Ercole (Ferrarese painter), 230, 

463, 464 
Gerardo, 497. 5^4 
Rocca Berti, Filippo della (Mon- 

signor), 4x5, 4x6, 42 x, 422 
Romei, Laodamia, 39 
Rossetti, Biagio (architect), 460- 

462 
Rossi, the, of Parma, X74 
Pietro Maria, 185 
Pietro, 31, 32 
Rouen, Cardinal of, see Amboise 
Rovere, della. Felice, 455 
Francesco, see Sixtus IV 
Bartolommeo, Bishop of Ferrara, 

X42, X58 
Francesco Maria (afterwards third 
Duke of Urbino), X33, 50691. 
S16 
Giovaxmi, 133 

Giuliano, Cardinal (afterwards 
P6pe JuUus II), X33, 135. 151. 
165, X73, 209, 439. 440; Ap- 
pendix II, document 5. See 
also under Julius II 
Roverella, Bartolonmieo, X37 

Lorenzo, X29, X42 
Rubino, Giacomo, 35. 37* 3* 



Sadoleto. Niccol6, 389 

Sala, Alberto della, 3X, 3B ; (the 
younger), 220 

Salimbeni, Sigismondo, 500 

Salinguerra, X2 

Salomone, i^on, iS$n ^ 

San Giorgio. Gian Antonio (Car- 
dinal of Alessandria), 439 

San Giorgio. Cardinal of (titular), 
see Riario, Rafiaello 



575 



INDl 

San Severino, Antonio Maria da, 

2iin 
Federigo da, i8o» ; Appendix 

II, document 17 
Francesco da, Count of Caiazzo. 

226, 250. 313, 315, 317, 318, 

351 
Galeazzo da. 232, 28 ih (not to 
be identified with Galeazzo 
Visconti). 301 
Roberto da, 155, 174-178, 185, 

192, 199, 203, 206, 210 
Ugo da, 186 
Sandeo, Antonio, 109, 119, 120 

Felino, 338. 370. 37^ 
Sansoni, see Riario, Raffaello 
Sanudo, Marino, passim 
Saraceni, Gerardo, 398-40O, 405, 

406. 408, 4 ion, 413 
Savonarola, Elena, 263 
Fra Girolamo, 139-142, 163, 
164. 295, 302, 304-309. 312, 
315. 317. 321-325. 327. 329- 
339. 340. 341. 363. 36s. 3^' 
479. 480 
Marco Aurelio, I40n 
Michele, 42, 51, 52. 68, 69, 71, 

72. 80, 81, 95. 140 
Niccold, 140 
Scala. Can Grande della, 15M 
Scocola (bufioon), 80, 81, 93 S 

Scrintassa, 171-173 
Sereguio, Gian Giorgio, 353, 354, 433 
Sforza, Alessandro, 65, 108, iii 
Angela, see Este 
Anna, see Este 
Ascanio (Cardinal), 150, 219, 

"9. 235. 356, 358. 438, 555 
Beatrice, see Correggio 
Beatrice d'Este, 3991, 142, 162, 
213, 214, 222-225, 227, 229, 
231. 233, 236-238, 245, 251, 
328, 349. 463. 473. 484 
Bona, 150, 155, 203, 463, 532« 
Bianca Maria (Queen of the 

Romans). 245, 246 
Caterina (successively Riario and 
De' Medici), 159*1, 166. 169, 
181. 220, 355, 356, 413 
Costanzo, 112, 114, 156, 157M, Si 
I99n, 231 S« 

Ercole Massimiliano (eighth 

Duke of Milan), 233, 238, 458 Si 
Ermes. 226 Si 

Francesco (fourth Duke of Milan], Si 

63, 65,- 461 si 

576 



INDEX 



Sta.^nesio, Giovanni, 119 
Stefiana, Suora, 375 
Stella, see Assassino 
Stro2zi, Carlo, 18 

Ercole, 469, 470, 491, 492^ 
A^95> 496, 512, 513, 515, 516- 
522 
Oinevra, 258 
Oiovazini Francesco, joo 
Onido, 469, 520 
L«aodamia, 141 
Tjjrenzo {the elderj, 87, 140, 

Lorenzo (the younger), 469, 520 
JLorenzo di FUippo. 468, 469, 

S^on 
Lucia (Boiardo), 254 
Nanni, 18, 37 
Niccold, 47 
Tito Vespasiano, 47, 48, 5311, 

59, 60, 87. 135, 254, 255, 270, 

468, 469» 493. 496 



Jacopo (successively Ferrarese 
Ambassador at Rome, Judge 
of the Twelve Sages, and 
Ambassador at Bfilan), 106, 
147, 156, 178, 190, 224n, 228. 
231, 332, 235, 25o», 301, 309i», 
3iin, 317, 31 Sn; Appendix II, 
documents i and 14 
Paolo Antonio, 156, 178 
Tura, Cosimo (Ferrarese painter), 

89, 90-94. 288, 462, 463 
Turxiani, Fra Giovacchino (General 
of the Dominicans), 340, 341, 
3^7» 369. 370. 372, 373. 40a, 
403 



U 

TJrbino, Dukes of, see Montefeltro 
and Rovere 



Tasso, 9. 25, 292 

Tassoni, Giulio^ 216, 240, 299, 

429, 493 
Tavelli, Giovanni (il Beato), 43, 

54 
Tavola. CammiHa dalla. 33. 132, 

192W 
Tel>aldeo, Antonio, 218, 470-475, 

495. 496. 514. 520 
Tebaldi, Jacopo, 47on. 4831* 
Xerri, Ottobuono, 27 
Tolomei. Family, 34« 
Xommaso. Frate (O.P.). 325. 332 
Ximoteo da Modena, Ftate (O.P.J, 

370. 372 . 

Xolentino, Giovanm Francesco^da, 

Appendix II., document 14 
XoreUi, Barbara. 517-522 
Torre. Jacopo della. 53 
Xortona. Tommaso da, 21 
Xx^moille, La, 358. 429 
Xristano. Bartolommeo (architect^, 

460 
Trivulzio, Gian Jacopo (Count of 
Musocco, sdierwBxda Marshal 
of France), 174. I79. i«6» 188, 
189. 192, 206, 3i*» 327. 351- 
353 
Trotti, Brandeltgi, 156, 178 
Galeazzo, 156 



Valentino. II Duca, see Borgia, 

Cesare 
Valla, Agostino, 6gin 

Giovanni, 357-359i 3^3. 384» 
395«. 46i«; Appendix II, 
document 21 
Varani, the, 211, 355 
Varegnana. Andrea da. 104. 105 
Venice, Doge of (Pietro GradenigoJ, 
13 ; (Francesco Foscari), 39; 
(Cristoforo Moro). 100 .(Pietro 
Mocenigo), 142 ; (Giovanni 
Mocenigo). 160, 168-170* ^7^^» 
175. 194. 196. 210. 211. Appen- 
dix II. documents 3* 4> 9» 
10, II ; (Agostino Barbarigo), 
237. 300. 302, 319. 320. 336, 
346, 347 ; (Lorenzo Loredan), 
441, 451, 496 
Vendramin, Andrea, 11 1 
Verdezino, Ftancesco, 500 
Vinci. Leonardo da, 223, 461 
Visconti. FUippo Bfaria (third Duke 
of Milan). 28. 44. 4^. 63, 64 
Galeazzo, 222. 240. 281 (not to 
be identified with Galeazzo da 
San Severino) 
Vittoiino da Feltre. 62 



W 



Wcyden. Roger Van der. 55, 88 



577 



INDI 



z 

Zambotto, Bernardino, 142. 144, 
146, 190. 340, 414. 445, 446. 
^ 450. 451 
Zampante. Gregorio, 326, 480. 481 






r 



i